Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW) Speckled Trout Shootout and the Winter Blues

I have been looking forward to the ICW shootout for months with good reason.  2010 was my best year for specks since fishing saltwater.  I caught hundreds, if not over a thousand fish, with some bringing nice size.  Many of my larger fish, to include my first citation speck came from our fishable area.  Fast forward to January 2011.  With old man winter's death grip upon us, many of those fish retreated due to frigid temperatures in the Hampton Roads region.  Anyhow, this tournament appeared to be a great one.  Some good pre-fishing trips and high spirits, coupled with a Artificial Only format bode well for me...  Or so I thought.

I had the pleasure of fishing the day before with my friend, Mark Lozier.  Spirits were high and we were looking to make a showing.  That was not the case as one measly 12" speck was brought to hand on a clouser in a combined 6 hours of fishing.  Needless to say, it was a tough day.  The captains meeting that night brought many discussions between the kayakers entered, to include Kris Lally and Wayne Bradby.  The goal was to consolidate communication and disperse to try to ensure that we maximized our chances.  The morning comes and the temperatures are in the 20's.  My excitement helped me forget the cold and we made it on the water around 7am.  I went to the spot where I had caught quite a few fish in the days prior and proceeded to get bites on various Marsh Works baits, but could not bring any fish to hand.  At this time, I switched to the long rod, flailing clousers.  This seemed to be the ticket as I brought 3 Specks to hand.  The only problem is they were all undersized.  The call for coffee came over the radio shortly after and I enjoyed some great conversation and a couple cups of brew to put my mind back in the game.  When we went back on the water, Mark managed to hook a small speck to beat the skunk.  He also "hooked" a gizzard shad to found out the second half action.  Wayne brought a few small trout to hand and Kris fished way too hard to come up just a bit short.  Kris is one of the better anglers I know, and if she gets the skunk, you know it is a tough day on the water.

The winning weights all came from boaters, with very small total weights and only one citation in a field of over 100 boats.  The results are as follows, with over half the field getting the skunk.  It was a tough day, but getting out on the water with new and old friends and a beautiful view to end everything was well worth it.  Thanks guys!

Results of NAC ICW Speckled Trout Shoot-Out on 15 Jan. 2011

Award Winners

1st Place $1,500 Heaviest String (3-fish aggregate)
Weight: 11.96 pounds
Team: Jig-Er-Low
Members: Raymond Layton, Joseph Scellato

2nd Place $500 2nd Heaviest String (3-fish aggregate)
Weight: 9.65 pounds
Team: Stallings
Members: Randy Stallings, Paul Craven, Steve Cluett

3rd Place $300 3rd Heaviest String (3-fish aggregate)
Weight: 7.89 pounds
Team: Speck Slayers
Members: Tim Elliott, Kevin Maples, Charles Patton

4th Place $200 4th Heaviest String (3-fish aggregate)
Weight: 7.37 pounds
Team: Brass Bell
Members: Bob Foster, Leon Auguston

5th Place Minn Kota Trolling Motor 5th Heaviest String (3-fish aggregate)
Weight: 5.88 pounds
Team: Gator Getters
Members: Tim Waters, Tommy Cowaw, Mike Hester

Calcutta $1,480 Largest Single Speckled Trout
Weight: 6.11 pounds
Team: Jig-Er-Low
Members: Raymond Layton, Joseph Scellato

Calcutta $370 2nd Largest Single Speckled Trout
Weight: 4.49 pounds
Team: Brass Bell
Members: Bob Foster, Leon Auguston

Sea Tow Boat Captains Award $100 Heaviest String (3-fish aggregate)
Sea Tow Boat Member in Good Standing
Weight: 9.65 pounds
Team: Stallings
Members: Randy Stallings, Paul Craven, Steve Cluett

Largest Speckled Trout RELEASE
Weight: 3.12 pounds
Team: Short
Members: James Short, Don Schnare

Smallest String $100 Gift Certificate at Boat Trailer Service
Weight: 0.87 pounds
Team: CNU Fishing
Members: Charlie Hill, Joe Wilkerson

Pictures to follow!

On another topic, in an attempt to become a "complete angler" I have started tying my own flies. It is a great way to take a break from studying and enjoy the life when the weather wont allow time on the water.  My patterns are getting better, my stress level lowered and the worst part about it all is I have a box of flies that will be great for spring Bluefish if nothing else.  It has been a slow depressing winter but there is hope...  Spring is right around the corner!

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