Going Big Early And Often, SAB Trout & Redfish
It was a "BIG" late week for us here at The Lodge. Capt. Chris Cady and I were fishing the first annual Port O'Connor Redfish Rodeo "Uncorked" Tournament. The two day tournament was hosted by Gina Nesloney and benefits the Port O'Connor Fire Department and EMS. We sponsored our Grounds Keeper Matt Bryant in the Miss Bayrat competition at Shrimpfest also.
Port o'Connor Redfish Rodeo "Uncorked"
With winds howling and plenty of folks on the water, it looked pretty challenging. It pretty much goes without saying that we were working mud/grass pockets in protected areas both leaward and windward from the boat with live Croaker. Tournament stringer consisted of 3 Trout 18" of better with 1 over 25" allowed and 3 Redfish. On Day 1 of the tournament, Capt. Chris set the mark to beat with a tournament entry of 24.3 Lbs consisting of 3 Redfish to 27" and a last minute "dig out" Trout at 26" to establish 1st Place lead. Chris had me down by three pounds sitting in 2nd Place with 3 Redfish tightly centered in the 25" mark on the slot and a 20" Trout.
Day 2 conditions on Saturday looked much the same as Friday with winds ramping up and more garhole water than you could shake a stick at. When I eased into some bait concentrations I had to almost close my eyes to get the nerve to drop anchor and set up. I guess that's where experience comes in because I've been there and done that many times.....seldom because "it was exactly what I was looking for or wanted to do". The water was horrible, roughly 16" deep and looked like a hot water cauldron of freshly tilled garden. Within 30 seconds of the first baits hitting the water I knew "it was all good". The bait was fishing hard and with a tractable "hands team" we applied the techniques needed to start thumping both Trout and Redfish pretty hard. It wasn't a "smoke n roll" by any means but it was steady, mixed with both Trout and Redfish, and getting larger and more active as the morning went on. Before the first bait hit the water, I told my team comprised of Oxbow Resources and Sulzer Turbine guests "if I try to leave here, somebody grab me by the throat and stop me". I was anticipating a grind and that was what it was going to take.
Trout showed up first and in short order we had two of our three fish over 18" but nothing special. Then the bite turned to cookie cutter Redfish centered between 24.25" and 25.75". Then things took a turn toward Trout again with 15 to 17" fish hitting the deck with regularity. The pendulum swung again as the Redfish started tearing up the water again. We boated another Trout a little better than one of the other "over 18's" and then Dee Woodruff "bowed-up" on a surface dancing pig that I knew was better than anything we'd seen for Trout thus far. Sure enough it was a solid 25" Trout and just gorgeous. At that point, I knew we had just won the tournament. 3 Redfish 24.75 to 25.75" and all three of our Trout over 18" and a 25" fish was going to be unbeatable given the conditions.
Winner & Chicken Dinner
Hurricane Junction at 5PM would tell the story and I was right. WE WON! We checked in 10 fish over the tournament and managed 46.14 Lbs, that's a 4.61 Lb average, not bad given the weather. The next closest in the guides division was 11.01 Lbs back. Capt. Chris couldn't come up with a Day 2 entry and still came away with 3rd Place. That's about how brutal it was, lots of struggling to go around no doubt. We came away with the overall win and Redfish stringer. Another team took the Trout stringer checking 20 Lbs including 1 30" monster for two days but couldn't locate any Redfish.
Miss Bayrat 2010
Wendi hooked Matt up with the outfit that put the crown on our very own Capt. James Cunningham several years ago. There is just something about leopard skin hot pants and top that the judges just can't ignore. The crown comes back to Castaway Lodge again as Matt won the 2010 Miss Bayrat Title. Matt is a going to be a Senior next year and then he's off to the Air Force. We are so proud of him.
Boat fishing mastery included Capt. James Cunningham who laid down Redfish limits with Trout to 22" for the Dwayne H. party; Capt. Mark Robinson managed near limits of Redfish to 27" and Trout to 18" for the Robin A. party; wade fishing proved tough for Capt. Doug fishing with Bob B. and guests. They managed to locate Trout to 20" over shell and very few shoreline fish. I think the big water shell success we had last week before the wind started cranking is pretty evident that Trout are dumping off the shorelines "post spawn" and headed for the deeper and cooler shell environs. The timing on this is just about right and I expect big things from big water when the winds back down hopefully early week.
On The Menu
We welcomed our guests with "choice" hand cut Ribeyes; the next night we had Wendi's Signarture Dungeoness Crab Boil with 13-15 Gulf Shrimp, sausage, corn, and new potatos. We provide homemade Black Forest Turkey sandwiches and chips on the boat and breakfast is comprised of fresh sausage and ham/cheese Kolaches along with Cinnamon Rolls, Muffins, and Bagels, coffee, juice, and milk.
Stay safe on the water and best wishes in your fishing and travels.
Capt. Kris Kelley
Castaway Lodge, Inc.