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Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.  I celebrated my first Father’s Day by introducing the little one to the pool and…..are you ready for the punchline……she took to it like a fish takes to water!

Eli shared a few videos on Bayou Yakkin the other day and this one from Stephen over at El Camino Blues really stood out.  It has been out for awhile, but somehow I missed it.  Good tunes and good redfish footage is hard to beat.  If you like shallow water kayak redfishing make sure to follow these two fellas as well.

 

The Adventure Fishing World Championship is new format of kayak fishing that combines fishing, strategy, navigation and paddling resulting in a true Everglades Adventure!  Teams of two anglers compete to reach and catch fish at 4 to 7 eligible checkpoints, in any order,and return to the start/finish before checking at 5PM with the largest total fish length. This is a catch-photo-release redfish, snook, and trout tournament.  Checkpoint locations are secret until start-time and there is no suggested route.  Routes will vary between 15-20 miles, and should take 6-9 hours to complete.”

 It was announced last month that the AFWC would hold regional events this year that will serve as qualifiers to the 2015 championship.  Here’s the info from their website on the new regionals, “Due to increased interest and the limited number of participants we can accommodate, we are establishing a regional series leading up to the 2015 championship. This allows more people to experience the thrill of adventure fishing and allows the top three teams a guaranteed spot in the championship.

Each AFWC regional will be of similar format to the championship with 5 checkpoints except the courses will be laid out where anglers can expect to paddle 5-10 miles rather than the grueling 10-20 expected at the championship. Other than that the experience is the same, a partner event with anglers required to reach and catch fish at a minimum of 2 out of 5 checkpoints and be back to the start finish line by 5PM.”

The exciting news for Louisiana kayak anglers was that one of those qualifiers will be held out of Cocodrie, LA on November 22, 2014.  More on that from their website, “The 2014 Louisiana regional tournament will be held at Coco Marina in Cocodrie,LA. Teams of two anglers will compete to reach and catch fish from at least 2 of the 5 eligible checkpoints, in any order,and return to the start/finish before checking in at 5PM with the largest total fish length. This is a catch-photo-release redfish,black drum and trout tournament. Checkpoint locations are secret until start-time and there is no suggested route. Routes will vary between 5-10 miles.

There will be NO water or food support on course. Once you leave the start/finish you are on your own. There will be no drops, or other outside support available or permitted. Be prepared for any circumstances you may encounter including, but not limited to: medical emergencies, navigational errors, inoperable equipment, wild animals, and weather. All teams will be required to carry specific safety equipment.”

2014 Regional schedule:

EAST
Where: Cedar Island,NC
When: May 24th, 2014

NORTHEAST
Where: North Wildwood,NJ
When: May 31st, 2014

SOUTHEAST
Where:Jacksonville,FL
When: June 7th, 2014

WEST:
Where: Lake Ouachita,AR
When: November 8th, 2014

LOUISIANA:
Where: Cocodrie,LA
When: November 22nd, 2014

I love how Louisiana is it’s own region in the schedule above – it sure feels that way at times. My good friend Casey was lucky enough to win the AFWC event held earlier this year, along with fellow Jackson teamer Steve Gibson. His blog on the event is definitely worth the read. Make sure to read all four parts.

This is a really interesting format to me and I am pretty excited that they have decided to bring it to Louisiana. Of course it is also very cool to see John Williams of Pack & Paddle get involved with the event.  I’ve got the dates marked on the calendar, now I just need to find a teammate!

Earlier this year I was asked by John Williams to come give a seminar on the topic of my choice at Pack & Paddle in conjunction with a monthly LKFC meeting. Naturally I wanted to talk about catching redfish, specifically sightfishing for them. Well tonight is the night, if you want to up your sightfishing game or have any questions about anything you’ve seen on this blog, come see me at Pack & Paddle in Lafayette tonight at 6:00pm. I know, what a terrible heads up I’ve provided, but it is what it is. I know sightfishing is nothing revolutionary, but hopefully I can help some folks out so that they can catch more fish in the future. If you can’t make it I will basically be expanding upon a post I made back in 2012 on planning a sightfishing trip to the marsh. Below is the write up on the Pack & Paddle website:

How to Sight Fish Reds Seminar – Sponsored By Jackson Kayak

Meeting Time &  Place:  Meet at Pack & Paddle at 6pm.
Price: FREE Event!

Ben Roussel Sight Fishing Pack & Paddle

Join Ben Roussel, Jackson Kayak Fishing TeamJackson Kayak Logo Pack & Paddle member, as he takes you through a primer on sightfishing for redfish. Sightfishing is an angling technique that allows you to see the fish you want to catch, making it one of the most exciting ways to fish from a kayak. In an effort to make you a better kayak angler he will share the tips and tricks he has learned that have helped put countless numbers of redfish in his boat employing this technique. You will see why sometimes putting down the rod and picking up the paddle can lead to a much more fulfilling trip.

Ben Roussel Sight Fishing Pack & Paddle

In the seminar you will learn how to sightfish, when the technique can be most effective, where to look for the best redfish flats, and what equipment you will need to make your sightfishing more productive. Ben will cover both fly and conventional tackle and everything from pre-trip planning to that moment when you spot a 20lb bull red and “buck fever” sets in.

During the seminar, we will be giving away prizes donated by Jackson Kayak for this event.

Ben-Roussel-Guide-PicSpeaker: Ben Roussel
About Your Speaker: Ben is a member of the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club and the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team and is a past winner of Fall N Tide. He has been kayak fishing the waters of South Louisiana for the last six years, primarily focusing on shallow water redfish. To him there is no greater thrill than watching a redfish inhale a lure/fly right next to his kayak. Be sure to check out his blog “Mountains to Marsh” at http://www.mountainstomarsh.com for reports, fly patterns, and more tips and tricks that just might help you put more fish in the boat.

While the stinkpot (motorboat to the non-kayak fisher) crowd was having their fun in Grand Isle at the annual Tarpon Rodeo, I participated in the LA 1 Slamboree tournament up the road in Leeville. Named in honor of the highway we love to kayak fish, the event is put on by the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club and sponsored by Lafayette JK dealer Pack & Paddle. The event featured slam, leopard red, and heavy red categories, with the leopard red winner receiving a brand new Cuda 12. Also available to kayak anglers was a speckled trout calcutta for a small additional cost.

The weather for the event was pretty typical kayak fishing tournament weather, steady winds and rain showers. I launched at an area I knew would be protected from the West wind. It was actually an area that I had never fished, but the marsh down here is pretty much all the same. I began the day throwing topwater looking for any resident trout, the only action I saw was from this guy:

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Switched it up to Gulp! under a cork and ended up catching some throwback trout. Soon enough I was hearing redfish crashing bait in the marsh and that proved to be the end of my trout fishing. I spent the rest of the day chasing reds, figuring the law of averages would catch up with me and one would either have lots of spots, or be extreme upper slot.

It was a strategy that never paid off, but I had a lot of fun catching slot reds and black drum. I did catch one big red that went over slot, not quite the tournament fish I was looking for, but it proved to be a great fight.

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The biggest red I had to weigh only went 24.5″ and was a little over 5 lbs. None of my reds had more than 2 spots. No tournament winnings this go round, but it was nice to see a lot of my friends on the leaderboard:

Speckled trout calcutta – Brendan Bayard

Heavy red winner  – Tommy Eubanks

Leopard Red winner – Gairi Williamson

Slam winners

1. Steve Neece – 11.7 lbs

2. Wayne Lobb – 9.13 lbs

3. Steve Lessard – 8.55 lbs

4. Ryan Alleman – 8.3 lbs

5. Toby Armand – 8.21 lbs

Congrats guys! Big thanks to Pack & Paddle and LKFC for putting on a great event. I look forward to fishing more events thrown by these guys.