The second leg of the IFA Kayak Tour Louisiana division was held yesterday out of Bridgeside Marina in Grand Isle. 52 anglers signed up to compete in the event and despite weather conditions being horrible, most showed up to fish the tournament. Most brought their A-game as well because a lot of nice fish were weighed in yesterday, it was by far the most competitive IFA event that I have fished. The weather was horrible due to a low pressure system in the northern Gulf, it wasn’t organized enough to be a tropical cyclone, but it produced enough wind and rain to make it feel like it. I made it down to the island Saturday afternoon and was planning to do a little pre-fishing when I got down there, but decided against it due to the weather, ended up just hanging out with some friends until the captain’s meeting.
I had two gameplans to choose from for Sunday, one being tried and true and the other being new to me. Since I didn’t get a chance to pre-fish the new area I opted to fish a spot I’ve done well at in the past. With a low pressure system in the Gulf the high tide was somewhat magnified. The water at the boat launch was spilling into the parking lot when I went to launch the kayak in the morning. I actually got off to a nice start in the morning with the World’s smallest slam.
The action on dink trout and reds was fast and furious where you found moving water in the marsh. It was nice to be catching fish as the rain was non-stop throughout the entire day and I don’t want to think about how miserable I would have been if the bite was slow. Thankfully it was usually just a drizzle, but a few times it would open up and really come down. Interestingly enough I caught two fish when it was raining hardest, the flounder and my big red on the day. I was waiting out the heavy stuff, tucked against the marsh grass, I just tossed my popper in a cut to do something instead of just sitting there Eventually it went under and attached was a 12″ flounder. I saw the big red cruising the shoreline of a pond I was in and as I made a cast to him the skies opened. I was laughing as I fought him in the rain – I didn’t think I’d be able to do any sightfishing on a day like yesterday.
I had a 13.5″ trout and a 27″ red by 9:30am and because of the weather I seriously considered just packing up. I kept at it though heading to areas where I thought bull reds might be hanging out. The weather seemed to improve as the day went on, unfortunately though the fishing (for me at least) did not. I was never able to upgrade either fish, so I ended with a 40.5″ aggregate. My consolation for staying on the water was one more slot red. He gave himself away as he was crushing crabs against the bank.
I wasn’t sure where my agg would hold up against the rest of the guys, but I figured with the weather we had anything was possible. As it turned out a lot of folks had great days, here are the results:
I ended up 17th, not bad, not great either, but I’m happy with it, it was about where I expected 40.5″ to be. I was pretty excited to see my buddy Brendan take first, no one works harder on a tournament day than he does, nice to see him at the top again. Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy seeing my name above his whenever possible.
One thing I’ve noticed fishing these tournaments is that you have three levels of angler that enter. 1 – You get your new guys and guys that aren’t there for the competition – they are there to learn and have a good time. 2 – You get the guys who are pretty good anglers and are getting better. 3 – Then you have the next level guys, guys with a do-what-it-takes-to-win mentality – these guys take risks, paddle far when they need to, and are motivated to win. I like to think I fall in category 2, but trust me I’m a category 1 guy at heart. It was obvious this weekend that I don’t fall into category 3. Mad props to the guys that pushed themselves in that weather to get after the big fish.
From left to right: Casey Brunning(big trout), Brendan Bayard(1st and big red), Steve Lessard(2nd), and Scott Harper(3rd)