After unsuccessfully scouting the area for the mysterious, unknown location of the “Flounder Hole”, I was working the grass when I picked up my first fish. I thought it was a mackerel of some sorts, but I later learned that it was a Lizardfish.
Mean little bugger caught on the lure of the week, a 3” Bayou Thumper.
After the Lizardfish, I ended up the night with some small little bluefish in dock lights. We heard a bunch of commotion, and tried and tried to hook up, but came away unsuccessful.
Day two started with a visit to Tex’s Tackle. It is a nice store with a good selection of inshore baits. They were also one of the big sponsors of the tournament. Thanks guys for your support! After we left Tex’s, we headed down to Fort Fischer to pre-fish. It is a cool place to fish with lots of deep holes, shoreline structure, and seemingly endless flats. Bait was everywhere, and the first order of the morning was to collect some mullet, which was an easy task along the wall.
Pelicans along the wall and the smallest Pompano ever!
The first area we fish is known as the cribs. We got first hand reports of reds and flounder in the area, so we decided to give it a shot. I ended up with this nice 15” flattie for my efforts.
After the flattie, Wayne and I decided to work a set of flats in search of reds. The wind was ripping, which made standing to spot fish difficult. I ended up spotting a few rays and a few reds. At the end of this flat, I saw a bunch of commotion. Right about this time, Wayne made a cast and hooked up with a solid 18” red.
Not a bad day of pre-fishing
I ended day two with a few flounder, a few rays, and a bluefish, to bring my total species count for the weekend to 4.
Day Three – Tournament Day!
We arrived at the Fort at 0445, got rigged up and we were ready to go at 0530. That time was the longest half hour ever! 0600 finally came and I was off to the wall to find some mullet. I get to my spot and I start to cast, getting a few each time. About this time, Wayne comes up to me and he has a 16.5” speck on the boga. I snap a few pics, and our duties have changed.
Wayne’s second place Speck
As I work the area with a MR 17 mirr-o-dine and a 3” Marsh works Bayou Thumper, the Mirr-o-dine goes off. I know this is a nice speck, but it comes off about 15’ away. Fish one of the tournament lost. I am in the dumps, but I decide to give it a try. I drift and cast the 3” thumper picking up a bunch of Ribbonfish, and a 17” Speck.
The next few cast bring more ribbons and a destroyed thumper. We decide to leave with the hardest fish of the slam out of the way. Next goal for me was a red, while Wayne decided to target flounder. I went to a spot I knew to hold reds and casted a 3” thumper under a popping cork (I caught all but one of my reds this year on this rig). I make a cast along some grass and the cork is gone in a instant. The fight was not on, because the sheer violence snapped my powerpro. (Fu#k, another fish lost). I was fishing the cork, and a second rod with a mullet on the bottom. This is when I picked up a small blacktip shark.
duh-da, duh-da…. (Jaws theme song)
Once I released this little guy, 3-6’ blacktips started thrashing all around. It was time to move. I saw a good choke point adjacent to a channel, and a oyster mound.I make a cast with the cork and BOOM! fish on, but this time it is heading straight for the oysters. I guess it was divine intervention, but this fish went straight back to the grass. This time it was not a bad as oysters, but the pucker factor was still there. When I got it boatside, I knew it was nice, but I did not know how big. It was a competitive fish though.
I throw it on the Hawg Traugh and it comes out to be 24 1/4”!
“William, I know that you’re going to hate me, but I just hooked up with a 26” er.”
I was happy for him, knowing that was a hell of a fish. With his 13.5” founder, I didn’t hate because it would only take a 15” er to tie his slam. We both head back to the cribs in search of flounder. I cast with mullet and I end up with a GIANT inshore gag grouper.
I know, its HUGE!
Right about this time, Wayne hooks up with a nice fish. I thought it was a nice red, but it ended up being a nice, 19.5” flattie, and the last one I would see all day. The flounder would have given me my second ever inshore slam, and the first on a tournament day. I hope it will happen soon.
To close out the day weigh-in came and went. Native endorsed guide and fellow Marine Kaleb Dutil came and grabbed Wayne, another individual and myself. The results of that verification were as follows:
Speckled Trout: second place - Wayne Bradbyfirst palce – William Ragulsky
This was my second tournament win and my first time winning a kayak!
Wayne ended up winning the Slam, being the only one to catch one (a solid 62”).
Trout Division winner! Artwork, Dry-gear, Carbon Fiber Paddle, Native Ultimate 14.5 Tandem
Wayne’s Slam Presentation
First Place and Slam Winners!
Thank you to Wayne, Seth, Chris, Ryan, and the guys from HLP, and all the sponsors of the TJM Celebrity Kayak Fishing Tournament. Ill be back!