Saturday, October 19, 2013

5th Annual HOW Redfishville Shoot-out


Heroes on the Water (HOW) helps our Nation's injured active duty and veterans from all branches of the United States military recover using therapeutic qualities that yak angling provides. The HOW Chapters pay for everything for these injured active duty military and veterans from hiring a fishing guide, license, transportation, lodging, equipment, etc. These fees can be very extensive so the local chapter in here Charleston, SC has an annual fundraiser that is titled “The Redfishville Shoot-out” conducted in October.

The rules for “The Redfishville Shoot-out” are pretty simple. Basically the event is a Catch – Photo – Release (CPR). The tournament only targets redfish and the minimum size is 15”. There are boundaries for the tournament; you are allowed to fish anywhere from Edisto River to Bulls Bay. When taking a photo of your catch the identifier, a measuring device, and the whole fish needs to be photographed. There is a special prize for either the biggest trash fish caught or the last person to report in at the weigh in that did not catch anything is awarded the Splooshers Cup. If there is any interest the event will have a Fly Fishing division but this year there was no interest. However they did have a category for the most spots on a single side of a redfish for the first time this year.
My fishing area was going to be behind Sullivan’s Island near Toler’s Cove. I will be launching from Station 26 at a small boat ramp that is unnamed and paddling down Conch Creek to the ICW then near a spot by Toler’s Cove. Lewis will be fishing with me on this day. We arrived at the launch site about 30 minutes prior to safe light; 6:55 AM was announced at the Captains Meeting to start fishing. We setup the kayaks and moved the trucks up the road a bit. Lewis asked me if I thought the vehicles would be alright there. After all the weekend was primed for a flood tide; we were looking at a 6.6 that morning. I thought that we would be OK so we left it at that. At 6:55 AM we took our first photo that is required of the identifier and the kayak at the launch site. This is done to mark the series of photos so that everything photographed after the initial photo is proof that the fish caught, photographed, and released were landed during that event.
While we started to paddle towards the new fishing hole; Lewis again asked about the safety of the trucks. With the flood tide there was the possibility that our parked vehicles could be sitting in saltwater for at least 3 – 4 hours. Again I explained to him that they should be alright but then he would be listening to someone from the upper Midwest. At any rate we just kept paddling to our fishing hole.
When we arrived to the flats, the water was still coming in. The ideal way to fish this area is to wait for the tide to start going out. At any rate since we still had some time before that would happened; we moved into the grass flats to see if we could locate any tailing redfish. I did not have any luck with that or just fan casting hoping for a hook up. So I met back up with Lewis and we anchored up near a deep channel and baited up with some frozen crab. Lewis stated that he was not feeling well and was going back to the truck to see if he had his medication that he was taking for the flu that he had for the past several days. If he was going to go home he would call to let me know so that I would not be worried if he did not return.
After a while Lewis called to report in. Uff da!! His report was that he could peddle the Hobie PA14 to the trucks. He was going to have to wait for the tide to go out before he could load up and head home. Uff da!!! This means that I will have to take the truck to a car wash to try to get rid of the salt residue from the flood tide.
 When the tide started going out and the oyster beds started appearing, I started noticing a few nice size redfish about 30” plus swimming. I started cast towards them but no luck. Then I could hear redfish crushing bait in the weeds and along the grass lines. I decided that I would also throw out a piece of crab and let sit on the bottom to entice one of these bulls to take the bait. I was throwing the Savage Gear 3D TPE Shrimp, the Egret Bait Vudu Shrimp on a Popping Cork, a Live Target Top Water Mullet, the DOA CAL Shad on a weedless hook setup, and the DOA CAL Airhead.
Eventually I got a hit on a Glow/Gold Rush Belly DOA CAL Airhead. The line just spooled from the reel and the monster was in the grass. Then the line went screaming through the grass from my right to the left. I managed to get the bull to surface about 30 feet from the Jackson Big Tuna. This bad boy looked like he would measure close to 36” or more. All I have to do is to land him into the kayak and just maybe first place would be mine. At one point I had the bull near the Big Tuna and started reaching for the Ego net but he decided to do another run. Next thing I know the huge redfish got into the oysters, the leader material got cut and my dreams were gone. Uff da!!
I continued to cast in the area but no more takers in fact the sound of redfish crushing bait stopped. At this time it was around 1:30 PM so I decided to paddle back to the launch and load up. Then head off to a car wash and then to the weigh in to see what size redfish would take first place.
At the weigh in the majority of the anglers either fished Copahee Sound or the Wando River near Paradise Landing. The anglers at the Paradise Landing also experienced the flood tide and the parking area also flooded around the park vehicles. The top three winners caught some nice redfish from Copahee Sound. The biggest bull measured at 32.5”, the next size was 32.25”, I do not recall third place but there were several from 27 – 29 inches turned in. Copahee sounded like the redfish were on fire some anglers had eleven hook ups and most had about four reds to be measured over 20”.
The next time the “Redfishville Shootout” comes around I hope that you will consider participating in the event to support Heroes on the Water. If you are not in the Charleston watch out for the hundreds of small tournaments that are conducted to raise funds for your local chapter of Heroes on the Water and just have fun with it. Remember that these warriors have sacrificed a lot for our country and need our support to be healed from the visible and invisible wounds that they have endured.
Congratulations to all the winners from the “Redfishville Shootout”.

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