A TOURNAMENT ALREADY
Yes…..it is that time here in south Texas, didn’t I just fish my last tournament in December? Not much down time here as we fish year round. A new Trail series has joined the many other events that we have here in Texas. The Southeast Texas Kayak Bass League started out last year doing a online series thru TourneyX where it established a good following.
Since most of the trails require traveling a few hundred miles for anglers living in southeast Texas. The organizer of SETXKBL thought it was time for a ” fun, yet competitive, series that caters to both beginning and seasoned kayak anglers “. Mostly utilizing events on lakes that are within a 2 hour drive to limit overnight stays and long road trips.
ROUND 1 – FAYETTE COUNTY RESEVOIR
The first event in a 5 tournament trail begins at Lake Fayette. It is a 2400 acre power plant cooling resevoir located about 10 miles east of LaGrange, Texas. Fortunately it is only a little over an hour from my front door! Due to work scheduling my pre-fishing was limited to a handful of times. Much to my suprise they ended up being pretty productive trips. By studying charts and lake info I had narrowed down some areas to target. Throwing baits I had confidence in and ones that allowed me to cover water were key to zeroing in on the fish.
Fast forward to tournament day and realizing after entry had closed the night before, the event had over 100 anglers registered to fish. I made the trip up the night before and arrived about 9pm. Being able to stay on sight at a shelter added some extra sleep and also allowing me to get the Coosa FD launched and ready before the captains meeting. Go figure, 101 anglers scrambling to launch….Luckily there was another park to launch from 3 miles away.
WAVES AND WIND
Overnight there was a strong frontal system that pushed through and had the winds on tournament day blowing 15 to 25 mph. Luckily the workhorse Flexdrive on my Coosa FD allowed my to beat up the wind blown shorelines and battle the choppy waters. Applying the same pattern as pre-fishing. I was able to quickly land a nice 17.25″ fish right after first cast time. It didn’t take long that morning to have a small 5 fish limit. My biggest being 19″ that was caught around 8am. By fishing moving baits (chatter baits, spinner baits, and crank baits) I was able to cover areas quickly with fan casts around submergent grass and drop offs.
The bite quickly shut down mid morning, with rising barometric pressure and the addition of 4 bass club boat tournaments. The switch just turned off! While continuing to grind it out I was able to upgrade a few fish before the leader board was turned of at high noon. My 5 fish limit had me in 2nd only a half inch ahead of 3rd place with my 5 best somewhere in the low 80″ zone. The very next cast after checking the leader board the unimaginable happened! Right at the kayak my chatter bait was slammed! All it took was one shake of its head and my lure sky-rocketed back at me with reckless abandon! That fish was a solid one( definitely over 20″).
After settling my nerves a bit from loosing that fish, my mind was focusing on culling some of my smaller fish. Luckily the afternoon bite came around! Quickly culling 2 fish on one of the main lake points I felt good about heading back to the launch with about 35 minutes to fish on the way. Last cast was at 3pm with check in at 4:15pm. I was able to cull up 1.50″ at 2:47pm and thought I should have a good shot at being in the top 10.
This tournament was a grind with a flurry of bites in the morning that shut down quickly and made me really hunker down and fish hard. having confidence in the bait you choose to throw will help you as it did me. Although I was not able to take the win. I will gladly take a 5th place finish out of 101 anglers. Props to all the other anglers in the top 10 and everyone that battled adverse weather conditions. I would like to thank Southeast Kayak Bass League from bringing another trail to our area and look forward to the next event at Sheldon Resevoir(home to many share lunker catches) near Houston. If you would like info on this trail series hit up www.setxkbl.com and check em’ out.
~Dustin Nichols Jackson Kayak Fishing Team