Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Rainy day but smiles were all I saw ( a post-tournament report)

This past Saturday was the 8th Annual TKAA Kayak Fish for Charity Tournament to benefit Project Healing Waters and Heroes On the Water.  Every year I enter this tournament as a volunteer to assist the veterans who participate with us.  The entry fees go to benefit two worthy causes and the sense of fulfillment of everyone that participates is unparallelled.

I was able to pre-fish the day before, and I chose to spend it chasing after sheepshead and tautogs but came up empty.  I landed several fish including: oyster toads, croakers and sea bass, but my mind and heart really weren't into it, because I was already focused on the event the following day.  I was already formulating the spots I wanted to fish in hopes of helping a vet land some fish.

As luck and misfortune would have it, mother nature had other plans.  Not only were we approaching a full moon cycle which tends to change the prime fishing times, but the weather took a turn for the worse with rain moving in, temperatures dropping significantly overnight and a falling barometer.  In a little over 6 hours past midnight, the air temps had dropped from 75 to about 67 and continued to fall to around 63-64 which on most days is not that big of a deal.  Unfortunately, the winds picked up and were blowing steady in Rudee Inlet 5-10 knots with a constant barage of rainfall.  In other words, it was downright cold, wet and frustrating!
Not to be deterred, I launched and hit some sheltered areas first, then worked the shallows, some deep drop offs even some of the known fishy spots but to no avail.  We worked our way up towards the populated areas with all the docks and ran into a swarm of bait stealers but still no fish to speak of.  As I looked around, I noticed not many people having any luck either, but I was working my little keester off trying to locate some fish.  We made our way back towards another prime area and waited until the tide and current started to move.

I worked a variety of presentations to try and entice a bite - various plastic & jighead combinations, suspending jerkbaits, even a larger profile bucktail to try and entice a flounder or two.  All this amounted to was one small 12" speckled trout and a 4" pinfish between the both of us.  When the lunch time window arrived, we had to unfortunately head back to the launch empty handed.  Even as I apologized to him for not locating any fish, he simply smiled and said, "It's all good man!  That's fishing!"

Sometimes that message is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is what it is.  That's why it's called fishing and not catching as many have said over the years.  Even if it was a rainy day, the rain didn't dampen the spirit of the heroes and veterans that were able to participate in the event, nor did it extinguish the warmth that is felt by all who participate after sharing the day with these extraordinary men and women.

Tight lines and be safe on the water!  The weather is starting to turn colder, and it is time to pay closer attention to your apparel for each outing.

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