Ralph and I fished the Southern Redfish Cup last Saturday. We’ve just been too busy recently to even pre-fish – at all. We had hoped to introduce our new Redfish Eyes at this event, but as things happen, they are just simply not ready yet. Instead we provided Trout Eyes to the participants.
All we had to go on was prior years notes and just to go on what we know, which is to fish brackish water. The last time we fished this tournament was a couple years ago and we managed a very respectable 5th place. But that was in February when we have them pretty well patterned. At the time, that was my first “big time” tournament and Ralph had some very good advice which resonated with me, and we kept to this time. Don’t take it too seriously, it’s just a tournament, have fun and go fishing. I have held on to that bit of advice in every tournament I have fished in since, and I believe it makes a big difference. Another Ralph-ism is “what is on your mind, goes down your line”, which if you think about it, is closely related.
So, off we went with a rough game plan. The two spots that I had done marginally on redfish (and I say that honestly – redfishing for both of us has sucked recently) were not barren, but no hookups. So, we put our heads together and went into patterning and problem solving mode.
Another thing that we have happen often when fishing together is that one or the other will get on a hot streak. We never taunt or even say anything, because that monkey will jump off one back and on to another within a day, I’ve seen it happen countless times. Well, this day I had a pretty hot hand, and had a very good day for catching, with 4 nice flounder, a few good trout and I also was able to put 3 slot reds in the well albeit marginal size (between 18 – 20″). Ralph was for the moment being snake bit, but I told him “I’m just waiting on you to upgrade us, it only takes one fish” (the latter part is my favorite saying).
I had a 24″ red and a freight train burn my thumb and break off, and even a 24″ striper in the mean time. We went back to hit a spot that we had to bypass earlier due to another boat fishing it, and it wasn’t long before Ralph says “Fish on”. I net it and put it on the ruler, pinch tail, and its a perfect 23.0. A perfect tournament fish. It also had a recreational (yellow) tag in it. We cull the smallest and nothing much more the rest of the day.
After a wet ride back to Shem Creek, we were early and 3rd to weigh in. We had 9.78 lbs and Ralph’s 4.32 lb red held on throughout the day to be Big Fish and the $1000 winner. We ended up 4th place with a very nice team paycheck of $1,100.
Here is the coolest part…That big fish, was tagged by none other than David Fladd (me) on Nov 19, 2015 at 21.25″. Turns out, there is a CASH value to tag and release… I relayed to story to Robert Wiggers at the SC DNR, and sent him some pics. He is going to use the pics and story at his presentations and also on the tagging website. That fish was released yet again in Shem Creek, very stressed out due to being out of the water – as all the fish were (that’s another topic), and I hope it survives and will live a long life, free from the slot limit.
All of our fish were caught on Trout Eye jig heads. The first leg of the tour in Georgetown was won (overall, and big fish) on Trout Eye jigs by Ashley Lowder and we managed 4th and big fish on them. That’s over $10,000 in tournament winnings on our jigheads. Pretty cool. I’m pretty sure at least one of the three fish for the winners was on a Trout Eye as well…
In other news, Haddrell’s Point Tackle (both locations) now have 1/8 oz Trout Eye jigs in stock! Pick them up next time your in the shop.