Sunday, June 9, 2013

IFA Kayak Fishing Tournament in Charleston, SC

Uff da the first leg of the IFA Kayak Tour hosted by the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina is now in the history books. My fishing buddy, Lewis and I decided to fish the Hog Island Shoreline on the Mt Pleasant side of the Charleston Harbor. Even though we had some success on Saturday when we fished Grice Cove on the James Island side of the harbor, we felt that our odds to fish Hog Island would allow us to have a mud free launch compared to the Melton Peter Demetre Park launch site.

Randy McBride, Tournament Director for the IFA Tour and his crew did a super job in getting the yak anglers through registration and conducted a great Captains Meeting. There were 67 kayak anglers for this event, in 2012 there were 37 anglers challenging themselves to be the best yak angler in Charleston, SC.
Fishing the Hog Island shoreline started off great. With an early morning launch and using top water lure, both of us had trout attempting to hit our lures. I’m not sure what Lewis was using but I was using a four inch Super Snook Jr. All the trout attacks just kept missing the treble hooks, uff da. I worked the area from where the docks end to the Mt Pleasant Fishing Pier and not one hook up but again a lot of top water misses.

During the paddling to the fishing pier and drifting away from the pier; something caught my eye. It appeared occasionally like a small tail would break the water surface. A closer look revealed a school of some nice size sting rays were swimming along and occasionally their wing tips would break the surface. This was really cool to observe.
Finally making my way closer to the grass line to fish, a dolphin or two were feeding on some fish or bait fish along the grass line. The water in this area was about three feet deep. This was also cool to watch, after all the fishing at this point had really slowed down at this time.

 At this time I decided to go up a creek to see if there were any redfish swimming the waters looking for bait to feed on. I did not make any observations of any redfish but with the high tide, I could hear them breaking the surface chasing bait in the spartina grass. My best opportunity for a nice red appeared to be when the tide would be flowing out and the creek would have to be really shallow. Uff da! This stage for the plan to work was not possible as the IFA weigh in closes at 3 PM.
While I was still staying with the original plan, my buddy Lewis decided to change his plan. He expanded his area by fishing down near the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, across to Castle Pickney, over behind Drum Island, then the Coal Docks, and then the small creek that flows to Magnolia Cemetery. Along his journey he managed to pick up some under size speckled trout. By the time he got into the small creek he managed to catch a nice redfish at 26 inches and a nice flounder at 15 inches.

Uff da! No fish for me but I did have a great time visiting with old friends. Before I give the results I would like to mention that I did win a $100 gift card for Cabelas in the door prize raffle, so thanks to Cabelas for being one of the many sponsors of the IFA Kayak Tour.
The top three finishers were:

1.       Eddie Cabler with a 27 inch redfish and a 24.1 inch speckled trout for a total aggregate score of 51.1 inches.

2.       DJ Cabler managed to hook up on a nice 27.5 inch redfish and a 21.5 inch trout with 49 total inches.

3.       Roger Bump had a 27.1 inch redfish with a 21.3 trout with an aggregate length of 48.3 inches.
It should be stated that the top three finishers all were from Jacksonville, FL and fished their home waters. This strategy is a very controversial subject. Which I will not go into but will ask this question: These might be very skillful anglers in their own waters but how would they place if the rules are changed to have the competitors fish the waters when the IFA Tour is held?

Top redfish went to John Chapman also of Jacksonville but he did fish the Charleston area. His redfish measured 31.5 inches.
Top speckled trout went to Eddie Cabler with his 24.1 inch trout from the Jacksonville area.

In closing I would like to congratulate my fishing buddy in his seven place position for the 26 inch redfish that he managed to catch, photo, and release. Congrats Lewis. I’m cheering you on when we fish the second leg of the IFA Kayak Tour for the Atlantic Division in Savanna, Georgia in August. He might just have a shot at the regional title.
See you on the angling trails. Remember to uff da on those fish that you will catch.

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