Saturday, June 21, 2014

Midlands Kayak Fishing Club

The Midlands Kayak Fishing Club of South Carolina is a group of yak anglers that share a common affliction. This is the interest of catching fish from a kayak. They are all-around anglers in pursuit of freshwater or saltwater species. Lewis and I decided to participate in their upcoming Catfish Tournament at Lake Monticello located in Fairfield County off of HWY 215 in Jenkinsville, SC, adjacent to the Broad River about 35 minutes from Downtown Columbia.

Popular sport fish on Lake Monticello include catfish species such as blues, channels, & whites and yellow and flat bullhead catfish species. Other popular game fish include largemouth bass, black & white crappies, white bass, and bream species such as bluegill, redear, & redbreast. So we will only be targeting the three catfish species for this event.
The Midlands Kayak Fishing Club was planning for an afternoon cookout with hotdogs and burgers. This tournament will be evening or night time fishing event so the participates will need to ensure that they have a white light that displays 360 degrees as required for unpowered watercraft. Since the contest is for catfish the club will be relaxing the Catch-Photo-Release (CPR) rule for this event. Also they will be relaxing the artificial bait requirements so you will be able to use cut bait, live bait, stink bait, etc. This tournament will also be a five catfish stringer tournament. Minimum size catfish will have to be 12 inches in length for the tournament.
Prior to the tournament Lewis & I decided to fish the impoundment just across from Lake Monticello. This impoundment is classified as a ‘No Gas Engine” zone. Electric motors, any paddle or peddle craft is OK for this small lake. So we thought that we would see if we could find any bass on this impoundment. I would say that we fished the impoundment for about 3 – 4 hours with no luck. I did however manage to get one hookup when trolling with a shad rap on the way make to the landing. I had several jumps and lost the small bass.
We arrived back to the landing site where the Midland’s Catfish Tournament will be held. We walked down to the registration area to just talk. At this time the weather was very questionable if the tournament would go on. As we talked the wind started picking up, lightening was cracking all around us, and the rain was pouring from the clouds above. In what seemed like an hour the storm left as quickly as it came in. The weather radar on someone’s phone showed that the skies were clear for the remainder of the day. Heading back to the truck to setup the Jackson Coosa, there was a guy parked next to me that noticed that I had a flat. Uff da!!! So he was inflating the tire. Once inflated we could see that there was a huge bolt that somehow punctured the tire by going in head first. So before setting up the Coosa, Lewis helped me change the tire on the truck.
The tournament started at 6 PM. The token for the CPR was very unique. Each angler was provided a card from a normal deck of cards. In my situation my token was the 3 of clubs. My approach was to use stink bait on two rods. I was not having any luck. Finally in the darkness about 9 PM I had a hookup while I drifted over a sunken island. I had a good battle on the end of the rod. In fact this hookup provided me my first freshwater sleigh ride. I managed to land a nice 31 inch channel catfish into the Coosa. This girl was heavy when I held her up for the photo session. Only three hours to go till the end of the tournament and I only needed four more catfish. 
By the end of the night this huge catfish would result in my only catch. Unfortunately there was no biggest catfish category. At any rate the Midland’s Kayak Fishing Club did a super job on the tournament. Congratulations to all the folks that caught fish and to the top place finishers. Of which one was Lewis from the Lowcountry Kayak Anglers not bad for a kayak club that concentrates on saltwater fishing.
Uff da!! Before I forget, the Jackson Coosa was a great kayak for this event. While drifting the Coosa along the deep channels during the day and on the low water flats in the dark the kayak tracked very well. I would highly recommend the Jackson Coosa for any freshwater fishing experience.

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