First, I’d like to make it known that this was a top shelf fishing tournament. Capt. Dave Sutton and the tournament committee put together one of the most professionally organized tournaments I have fished. I certainly wasn’t expecting such a high quality tourney… needless to say, I was completely impressed. Congratulations to Dave and rest of the gang (including our very own Flatsdoctor, Carlos Larroca) My hat goes off to the guys and gals that donate their time and money to raise money for the kids.
My Fishing Report:
On Saturday the fishing was tough. The wind was a steady 15 knots from the South/Southwest (where I was, anyway). So, I changed my game plan midstream and it turned out to be a bad move. We caught a few fish, just none of any quality. We started the day in Whitewater, then to the Rivers North and down to the Cape.
Day 1 tally:
11 Snook… w/ one to 24 inches
6 Reds… w/ one to 23 inches
5 Trout… w/ one to 17 inches
5 Snapper… w/ one to 9 inches
On Sunday, I decided to forget about the bonefish and stick with my original Saturday game plan… it paid off . We picked up the much needed Tarpon first thing with a small 19.5 incher. The next spot yielded tons of Trout and Snapper, so we were able to upgrade both. Then we loaded up with 3 – 4 inch Pilchards with one toss of the net… and off we went to the Snook spot.
Within five minutes we landed a 34.5″ (closer to 35″, but they round down to the nearest half inch) and there were a lot more Snook there… we probably could have caught them all day. But, time was ticking, so off we went to find the big Redfish.
This was the only part of the day that didn’t work as planned. For some reason, the Redfish spot was loaded with Snook and trash fish… some of the boys from Choko must have fished it before I arrived. So, we moved on… to the Black Drum spot.
As I pulled up, I didn’t see anything moving and started to get concerned… but as soon as I made my way up on the tower I began to see them. At first I only saw a couple, but as we got closer I was surprised to see nearly 30 big Black Drum on top of the oyster bar… it was an unbelievable sight. I quickly picked out the few that were actively searching for food in the oysters and tossed jigs their way. I caught the baby of the group, but at 32 inches and 19 pounds on the boga he didn’t come so easy. As it would turn out, I missed the Large Black Drum award by two inches… had I known, I could have easily caught a 40-incher. But, since they only counted for 20 inches in the tournament, I didn’t try to upgrade… and honestly, I didn’t think anyone would bring in a larger fish.
Then the real story of the day unfolded as we headed back in through Whitewater in hopes of upgrading either the Redfish or Tarpon… all with only an hour and a half to go. After a couple of quick fruitless stops, I decided to check out an old Tarpon spot I used to fish a few years ago… and they were there. The only problem was they were B-I-G ! As per tournament rules, all I had on board were Shimano Stradic 2500’s rigged with 10 pound Power Pro… I have no fear so, I quickly tied on a 60 pound flouro leader, 5/0 tuna hook and grabbed the largest Pilchard in the box. What happened next will be forever burned in my memory banks… the fight of a lifetime. With time ticking, I battled a 61 inch Tarpon that simply rocked my world for the next hour and twenty minutes. My arms, back and legs are sore today… as if I competed in a marathon yesterday. Then, on the way back ( in a hurry to meet the check-in time) we ran out of gas within a mile of the dock… Luckily a good Samaritan stopped, gathered up my Dad (w/ the camera and measuring sheet) and got him to the check-in just in time. WHAT A DAY!