Friday, May 31, 2013

LKFC Speck & Redfish Cup...

Coming into the Speck & Redfish Cup weekend I was pretty confident in some areas. One was in my ability to find two decent redfish. I was much less confident in my ability to find 2 specks. But I made the two days leading up to the tournament available for some pre-fishing and scouting. My plan was to fish somewhere on big lake where I would more than likely be alone. I didn't want to be port to starboard for the same tournament fish. I started out at Fred's with a buddy of mine looking for a trout spot and to test some new waters a bit. There was marsh I hadn't yet explored and I wanted to get into it and see if it held some nice fish. My plan for these pre-fishing ventures was to CPR any fish I caught and build my karma up for tournament day. 
Fred's left me confused and on the fence about the area. We paddled all around the marsh and to Turner's Bay in the muddy water and only managed two small reds. One under slot and a 20"er. No trout, no flounder. I made some calls and planned to hit West Cove the next day with John Williams. My last trip there was great and I knew there were some trout spots out on the lake if you got out early before the wind. We launched at sunrise and trolled a b-line towards the old camp canal looking for anything popping the surface. I managed a baby speck on a white glitter plastic while cruising around. We fished the open water for a few hours before I was bored enough to hit up some skinnier water for some red action. I never found it that day. The water was decent looking but nowhere I looked held any redfish. I got a nice speck in a pass in the marsh but he was rolling solo that day. As I fished back towards the launch I had a small flounder that got off at the boat (go figure) and was again confused and disheartened of where i would fish the next day. All the fish I caught the days prior were released back to bite another day. 
The winds shifted from the east and everything in me said go to Point Aux Chene. I talked myself out of the longer drive for tournament day opting to stay closer for the extra time to spend fishing. I picked Hebert's to fish out of for the next day. Hebert's was new to me but nowhere else i'd been had been good enough to go back to so it was all a shot in the dark as far as i was concerned. My plan was to try get my two reds early and spend the rest of the time looking for specks. Me and Alden launched at sunrise and started heading north towards some marsh. We saw Mike Burrows on the water and he yelled "I hope you trolling something, I already got two in the boat!". A good sign as it wasn't yet 6am and he was catching. I picked up and threw a bleeding shad Rat-L Trap and started paddling. Immediately I thought it was hung up. NOPE! FISH ON!! First cast and I hooked up with an 18" sheepshead. Not a tournament fish but maybe a good omen for the day to come. Boy was I wrong. We fished everywhere with everything in the box and came up empty. At one point we were up tight against some rocks and I swear I saw some reds tailing. The water was clear and they couldn't have been twenty feet from me. They were nowhere to be found. It may have been my brain playing tricks on me after a long day of not catching. We packed it in with plenty of time to spare.  
The weigh in was fun regardless of the fish count and we ate burgers and had a few beers. John Williams won the tournament with 17.14 lbs and thats with only one trout! He found some awesome slot reds that day out in west cove. Susan Foster took home the flounder calcutta with a 1.91 lb flatty she pulled out of Choupique Bayou. It was a safe day for everyone and we had fun whether you weighed fish or not. 

So I took the liberty of doing some post-fishing at Choupique Bayou a few days later because I hadn't yet gotten my fix. The wind was gonna pick up in the afternoon and I planned on beating it out and catching some fish. I didn't. I slept in a bit and was in the water by 8am. A small redfish took a LSU bayou chub pretty early in the morning when I was really hoping for some flounder to eat. The little bugger was released and none of his brothers or sister saw the fighting side of me the rest of the afternoon. I planned to explore a bit on the west side of the launch and with that done I headed east looking for some deeper water and some drains or cuts. The wind was brutal. Like pack it up and go at 1pm brutal. A 15mph headwind is not fun in a kayak. I went home.
That's a lot of fishing in on Big Lake. And I have yet to satisfy my craving for some good action and a loaded down ice chest. I don't know exactly what is up with the fishing but the high water and the summer-like heat may have something to do with it. It's time to learn another pattern for these fish and adapt. See y'all next tide.

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