Sunday, March 29, 2015

Titusville IFA Kayak Fishing Tour

Sixty-eight kayak anglers participated in the Titusville IFA Kayak Fishing Tour in search of a bull red and a gator trout to win this event.  I decided to be one of those anglers and traveled to Titusville, Florida to fish the legendary Mosquito Lagoon. I’m always hearing reports and see photos of bull redfish and trout caught in Mosquito Lagoon that will dwarf a South Carolina redfish.

 Leaving Charleston, South Carolina at 4 AM on Saturday morning Chris & I arrived at Beacon 42 boat ramp to pre-fish this section of the lagoon. I saw a lot of reds and some nice trout but I was unable to hook one for a tug of war. As I made my way along my drift plan at the 75% point of the drift I noticed some tailing actions ahead of me. I lowered the Power Pole Micro-Anchor to stop the Jackson Big Rig to determine the approach to the tailing redfish.

I decided to use a Slayer Sinister Twitch Bait (S.T.B) in the Molting color pattern on their 5/0 1/16 oz XXX Penetrator Weedless hook. Casting this setup just in front of the tailing redfish I waited till they were in the area of where the twitch bait was. I gave the plastic a slight jerk or two and one of the reds picked up the bait. Fish On!!! During the battle I lowered the Micro-Anchor hoping not to spook the other reds. 

Lowering the anchor proved to be more difficult in fighting the fish. He felt strong so I decided to raise the anchor and enjoy a sleigh ride in the Big Rig. The redfish tired himself out by towing a 300 plus pound float as I enjoyed the sleigh ride. In no time the redfish was in the Big Rig and on a measuring board for photos. He felt like a monster but he measured at 26 inches at the upper end of the slot limit.
This would be the only hook up that I would have for the day. I was happy and decided that this area will be the location for tournament day. My buddy Chris’ day was not as eventful as he managed a hookup or two but lost the fish during the battle. The time was close to 3 PM so we loaded up the kayaks and equipment and headed to the weigh in of anglers using flats boats. During the weigh in I managed to get to meet fellow team member Alan Ryland. He told me what colors were good for him today in the boat category. One was the Molting color pattern that I had been using and the other was the Venice Glow both in the Slayer Sinister Swim Tail (S.S.T.). Since I did not have any of the Venice Glow pattern Alan searched his tackle bag and gave me a package. Thanks Alan.

The weather forecast for tournament day was 15 knt winds from the north and a 10 degree temperature drop. I had a bad feeling that these changes will impact the fishing. That evening I reconfigured two rods that had jog heads on and switched them over to a 3/0 1/16 oz XXX Penetrator Weedless hook for the Slayer S.S.T. as I will be concentrating on a sea grass flat with sandy holes shattered through the flat. I felt that the jig heads would create more snags. The 3/0 hook to me is the perfect hook and S.S.T. combination.

Early tournament morning when we arrived to the Beacon 42 boat launch it looked like at least a third of the competition felt that this would be the area for the winning angler. Launch time was 7 AM and we all were lined up to take the initial photo of the kayak, token, and the 321 measuring board.  The race was on; it started to look like the majority of the anglers were paddling off to Pardon Island across the lagoon; while four of us it appeared to me had the same plan in action.

I decided to paddle past two of the competitors and encourage Chris to keep up. This morning the water had a lot of ripples on the surface making it more complicated to spot any fish. Occasionally I would notice some nervous water and would cast to that area but I would end up with no luck. In one area I noticed some feed action behind me and motioned to Chris to cast his lure into that area. Next thing I heard was “Fish On!!” from Chris. He managed to catch his first Mosquito Lagoon redfish. The red measures outside the low end of the slot so would not count for the tournament. It did not manner I had to get a photo of his redfish.

Chris managed to catch another puppy drum on the drift back to the launch site. It was getting close to 2 PM and time to load up and head to the weigh in to check in, have some lunch, and swap fishing stories from the day’s events. For Chris and me, we reported no fish caught, for me this was true but for Chris he did manage two in his kayak.
Congratulations to the following anglers for placing at the Titusville IFA Kayak Fishing Tournament:

  • ·         Ty Nelson with the largest redfish at 32.5 inches and for first his first place finish with 52.63 inches,
  • ·         Derek Engle with an aggregate score of 45.13 inches,
  • ·         Lachlan Cameron with 44.13 inches and
  • ·         Rodney Nelson with a nice gator trout measuring 28.38 inches.

Tight Lines.

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