Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Big Tournament Red Drum

The desire for that tug-drug kept growing with each successful report that Jay Brooks and Kayak Kevin put up.  And the big drum kayak junkies have been talking about it for years; if we ever have decent weather on tournament day, we were gonna get on 'em.  So needless to say, I had been checking the wind forecast like an addict waiting for his dealer to call.

Game time decision came the morning of the tournament.  I stood at the base of the CBBT as color just started to peek on the horizon.  The wind was every bit of 15-20 kts coming from wide open opposite of sexy.  It's a little over 3 miles to the spot and even though I've done similar paddles, certain muscles puckered.  Regardless, this is the closest I've had in years to do-able weather on tournament day.  So, at 6:30am, I looked up at the sky, said thank you for the opportunity and dragged my kayak across the beach.  It was go time.

I looked back occasionally to see if anyone else was up for the grueling trek out into open water.  With a minimum of 20 paddles strokes between piling sets, I knew the chances were very slim.  An hour and forty five minutes later, muscles on fire, I put out a piece of fresh bunker stuffed with 10/0 circle down to 30-40 ft and a 2 ounce jig with a 7" curly tail Gulp.  As I drifted, I watched the down imaging on my Humminbird, hoping for big blips.  After about 45 minutes,  I got my jig hung up and while I'm retying there's a zip zip from my Release SG clicker.  I look up to see the rod tip bounce twice and instantly dropped what I was doing.  As I tightened down the drag, big headshakes confirmed what I was hoping for.  Three rod bucking and drag peeling minutes later, I grabbed the leader just as the big tail slapped my front GoPro.  After wrestling it over the side, I handled the chore of documenting the measurement with a smile.  48.5"

Just as I was releasing it, the hardcore Maryland Kayak Boys showed up.  I almost couldn't believe it, but remembering how hard they fish, it made sense.  It wasn't long before Mike Rosa had a 48" big red.  Then Shane Hatcher and crew aboard the Badfish, who had just anchored their boat as I was fighting my fish, had 3 with the biggest going 52".  Meghan Lorraine on Jay Brooks' boat also caught a few with a really nice 53" as their biggest.  Then the bite slowed to a crawl.  The wind calmed a little and I wasn't sure what to do.  I had stuck around hoping to break the 50" mark, but with only a couple of hours left before weigh-in I decided to head in and try a flounder spot that produced for me the day before.  I should have stayed.  Jeff Depfer of the MD crew landed a 51" beast that ended up taking 1st place in the Red fish division. 

Big congrats to everyone who placed in the 10th Annual TKAA tournament but the real winners are and always have been Heroes on the Water and Project Healing Waters.  We all helped raise money for two very worthy organizations.  A huge thanks to all the sponsors who donated tons of awards and raffle prizes.  As in years past, I also pitched in and put up some artwork for a raffle.  I wish I had met the guy who won my print (hope he enjoys it) but I was distracted by my 2nd place winnings.

Big thanks to YakAttack for the 2nd place prize (BlackPak w/ three rod holders, GearTracs and a VISI CarbonPro light.

Check out Kayak Kevin's Podcast from the Tourney

On a more personal note, much appreciation to those who had very kind words about my past posts as well as those who had some concerns about my absence in recent months.  I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and hopeful I can come up with good content.  Much love and respect.  Peace out, homies.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Short Morning Session (with video)

I woke up juggling the calendar, with a foot in my face and an elbow in my crotch.  The Jake and the Neverland Pirates' theme song was still stuck in my head next to potential client email drafts, needy little what's for breakfast and can we have sprinkles.  My mind was crowded with unfinished powerwashing chores, MIA little pink stuffed elephant drama, overdue oil changes, super-evil-mega-corps silently upping my bill, wall doodles, and the infinite stream of laundry.  I Hattori Hanzo'd my way out, making sure not to wake the lil' ninja who snuck into bed upside down.  Then, sans coffee, I silently slid into the river in the cover of darkness.

As light slowly crept through the haze, the curtains were pulled back on the soul invigorating glow of the water.  Long exhales shrank my worries and I felt my head declutter.  With every paddle stroke, I reminded myself of all I had to be thankful for.  A short ways later, I caught a good rhythm on the 6wt flyrod and found a few little bronzbacks to go with my smile.

Back in time to rock breakfast duty and watch Saturday morning couch jumping in pajamas, Jake's theme song wasn't so annoying after my short morning session.