Sunday, March 24, 2013

Paddlepalooza X...

I had hopes to fish Paddlepalooza X since I heard about it. It was an 11th hour move that made it a reality being that I was offshore for the weeks prior to the tournament weekend. Ruthie's boss graciously gave us they keys to her camp on Grand Isle and we were off. The camp was pretty far from all the action in Leeville but it was a palace as far as a fishing camp goes so no complaints from me. I did some prefishing on friday in the wind on the bay side of the island around some jetties and had a red spit the hook at me after an hour or so of paddling around the crystal clear waters. I was more than happy to cruise the banks and smell the salty air for a bit as the sun was going down. Didn't have much action besides the crabs and baitfish splashing around. 
Saturday morning I headed out into the mist and fog to the spot I had committed to fish. Avoiding launching at Bobby Lynn's was my only real stipulation. A lot of people were sure to take the easy route and leave from the marina in the morning and I did not want to be shoulder to shoulder with others for the same fish. After checking the prevailing winds for the day I settled on fishing the west side of Hwy. 1. In fact I never saw another angler all day. It was still dark and I was paddling to my spot under my headlight. It wasn't 7am and small trout were already blowing up my topwaters. No hookups but it was a good sign for the day. Not long after there was enough natural light to see what I was throwing at I had a small, but legal trout in the boat.

Redfish was the next target and they didn't make it too difficult. The water was crystal clear, winds still calm(ish) and they were sitting in every pocket I found. Within an hour or two I had a few nice reds (17"-22") and switched modes to find a bigger trout. I found a point near a deeper channel where a school was stacked up and they were eating plastics on every 3rd cast. No trophies but fun nonetheless. I took a few home and threw a few little rascals back to get bigger for next year.
My redfish at this point were fine table fare but not tournament caliber. I still had room for 2 more reds and went back to some of the points I had missed a few hookups earlier hoping they hadn't travelled far. And they didn't. One 25"er was digging in the mud and tailing long enough for me to sit and watch for awhile and take some pictures. A few minutes later he fell victim to a gold spoon much like all his buddies had that day. My reds were done. It wasn't 11am but I had my limit. It was flounder time.
Flounder still confuse me. The tight, broken marsh I was in was nowhere near sandy bottom so it was a shot in the dark at hooking up with one. I found one along a grassy bank but he slipped casually into the water as I nearly paddled directly over top of him. No chance there. It was in that same canal that my weigh-in trout came up. He took the same chicken on a chain plastic all my trout liked that day.  He taped out around 16". Good enough for the day I was having but not a mule by any means.
Not much happened the rest of the afternoon worth raving about. A few more slot reds were caught and released and a flounder was nowhere in sight. Right near the end of the day, there was something on the surface and it was big. I gave him a cast for the hell of it I thought I got hung up on something, until it started moving. The fish was slowly moving down current trailing me and my kayak with it. He wasn't moving fast but he was going. After about 2 minutes of the sleigh ride he out of nowhere took a run and spit the hook out. Probably a black drum.

I made my way back to Bobby Lynn's and weighed in but didn't stick around long for the festivities. My girlfriend and a few buddies were back at the camp and waiting for dinner. We cut up some catch for fish tacos and spent the rest of the night playing booray and drinking beer. 
Paddlepalooza and a weekend on Grand Isle was super fun. It was my first, but will not be my last tournament. I will be more social and focused at the next ones. But hey, can't complain one bit about the weekend I had. It was all about having fun and catching fish. It was an A+ in both categories. See yall around highway 1 again real soon. Already looking forward to the slamboree!

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