Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Second Leg of the Atlantic Division for the IFA Kayak Tour

The experience that Lewis and I had on Saturday at Priest Landing on Skidaway Island really should not be considered a bust. This area of the Wilmington River would be a great area for future IFA Kayak Tours in Savannah, GA when the tides are correct to launch and to get off of the water for the weigh in. So Saturday night we decided to launch from the Lazaretto Landing on the Lazaretto Creek on Tybee Island. From there we will head left from the landing; I would try some top water action using the Live Target Mullet Surface plug drifting to the area where the South Channel and the Savannah River meet basically.

I did not get any action using the surface lure while drifting the Lazaretto Creek. I then proceeded to paddle across the South Channel and drift towards the Cockspur Island Lighthouse.

The Cockspur Island Lighthouse was built between 1837 and 1839. New York architect, John Norris had been contracted to supervise the construction of an illuminated station. In 1854 the structure had been destroyed by a hurricane. The tower was rebuilt on the same foundation. At the start of the American Civil War, the light was temporarily extinguished. April 1862, Union forces stretched along the beach at Tybee Island started a bombardment of Fort Pulaski. This resulted in a thirty hour siege of the fort with the Cockspur Lighthouse in the middle. Soon after the war’s end, the beacon was relit and painted white for use as a day mark. Man, not nature, extinguished forever the little light since the South Channel of the Savannah River could not handle the larger freighters. The increasingly busy Savannah port routed vessels to the deep North Channel.

In this area we met up with five other yak anglers participating in the IFA Kayak Tour. They were catching some nice speckled trout in the 15 to 17 inch range. I tried casting into the fast outgoing current but was not getting any hits. I had to figure a way to anchor long enough to be able to keep my lure in the strike zone for the trout. The area was already crowded with the other five anglers so it was not possible unless one wanted to infringe on them. Uff da; as an angler this would not be a respective or ethical thing to do in a tournament or even when just fishing. So I decided to move on to look for some monster redfish or a stray speckled trout elsewhere.
So I paddled towards the area of Fort Pulaski known as the Point of Fort Pulaski. Ideally you what to fish this area with an incoming tide working your way to the oyster reefs south of the rock jetties for redfish and flounder. I worked my way along the spartina grass shoreline of the Cockspur Island casting towards the tall grass. I got to one section and noticed some of the spartina grass moving like something was swimming through the grass. The next thing I see is this huge head raise out of the water; uff da; a manatee feeding in the area. So I left the huge Sea Cow alone and moved on past. As I worked the grass line, I managed to have a huge copper color swirl in the chocolate milk that I was fishing in. I set the hook and had a short fight with looked like to me a 30 inch redfish. Uff da; could have been the biggest redfish for the tournament. I had to re-hook the D.O.A C.A.L. Airhead white in color with a chartreuse colored tail. While re-rigging another Airhead, I hear something roaring behind me. In this shallow water I had a series of walls of water that were white capped waves about two feet tall getting ready to push me into the grassy shoreline.

As I got close to the oyster reef, I got a hit on the D.O.A. C.A.L. Shad gold in color. Working the fish to the surface I noticed that I had a nice flounder. While I got the Ego net into the water to bring the flounder onto the Big Tuna; he threw the hook and slowly swam back to the bottom. I tried this area a little longer but I was not getting any more hits. I decided to move onto another section.
I started hitting the various little oyster mounds hoping for a redfish or a trout. There was one section that I kept hearing and seeing something that gave the impression that there was a redfish in the area. Lewis also was in this area and got hung up on some oyster shells. He peddled up to the snag and got is Z-Man free. When he was drifting backwards he noticed several redfish but he did not spook them off. He casted towards one of them; twitched the lure, uff da he had fish on. This fish provided Lewis with somewhat of a sleigh ride while he was standing fighting the fish. Unlike my red this spot tail managed to get netted and measured.

Lewis has a nice 27 inch redfish. Then he asked me an uff da question; he was wondering if he should try to catch a bigger redfish. I explained to him that he would be better off looking for a speckled trout that is at least 13 inches. Since the IFA Kayak Tour is a fishing tournament that requires the angler to catch one redfish and one spotted trout both have  to be in the slot limit or bigger as in a kayak fishing tournament we are a Catch, Photo, and Release (CPR) event. So Lewis went off in search of the trout. For me, I continued to search out any spot tail or sea trout. Eventually, I made my way back to the Lazaretto Launch and Lewis was close to the ramp area still searching but he had no luck.
We decided to load up and head in for the Captain’s Meeting back at Hogan’s Marina. We got back at 2 PM and still had to wait till 3 PM for the check in to close and the winners announced.

The top three winners were:
1.       Roger Bump with a total length of a redfish and speckled trout of 58.5 inches,
2.       Elizabeth Saylor with 51 inches, and
3.       John Chapman with 45.25 inches.

Top Junior Angler went to Austin Leggett with a 28 inch redfish.
Roger Bump was recognized as having the largest redfish at 38 inches. He reported fishing the shipping channel using a heavy jig head with a six inch gulp curly tail jigging in 45 feet of water.

Nathan Raycroft had the largest trout at 25.75 inches.
As for my fishing buddy; Lewis Brownlee, he came in ninth place with his 27 inch redfish.

Congrats to all the fifteen yak anglers that managed to do some type of catching out of the 28 anglers that participated.

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