Redfish Tournament Fishing in the Cuda LT

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For the first time since last spring, I actually considered putting on a jacket to start the morning. The temps were in the mid 60s with a cool breeze blowing through the air, which was a nice change from the heat we’ve had this summer here in Texas. A friend and I were fishing the last event of the 2015 Lone Star Kayak Series on this morning and were patiently waiting for the clock to show 6 am so that we could begin our day.

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We were the only two people at our launch, which is always a small advantage on tournament day. We wouldn’t have to worry about dodging other anglers that were fishing the tournament or miss out on fishing certain areas because someone else arrived first. I’ve spent 99% of my kayak trips sitting in the seat of a Jackson Cuda 14, but on this particular morning I decided to go with the Cuda LT instead. The marsh we were fishing consists of several dozen small lakes that go on for as far as the eye can see. With the Cuda LT weighing in 16 lbs. lighter and nearly a foot and half shorter than my Cuda 14, I decided to go with the kayak that had the ability to make sharp turns without needing a lot of space.

3We pushed off into the dark at 6 am and made the short paddle to the first lake we planned to fish. Johnathan started off throwing a topwater while I went with a popping cork and gulp. The plan was to throw different set ups to see what the fish were wanting and then both go with the lure that was producing the best bite. It didn’t take long before I had my first bite on the cork which turned out to be a solid 26 ½” redfish. A few minutes later I had my second bite of the day, a chunky 25” red which gave me two fish on the stringer before the sun had a chance to peak over the horizon. Anyone that has ever fished a redfish tournament knows how good it feels to have 12+ lbs. on the stringer within the first hour of launching. It was obvious that it was going to be a popping cork kind of day with the higher than normal tides, so Johnathan put down the topwater and grab his rod with the cork on it.

It didn’t take long before we figured out the pattern for the day and both had two fish on the stringer. With a decent NE wind blowing through the marsh, we used it to our advantage by focusing on all points and small coves on the windblown shoreline. It seemed like every point held at least one fish, along with any small cove that was located on the SW shoreline. The reds would wait on the wind protected side of the points and ambush the bait as the current forced it by or they would focus on the bait that was unwillingly being pushed up against the shoreline by the wind.

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At one point we thought we had doubled up on two solid reds, but come to find out, Johnathan had a 27 ¾” red, while I had a two foot alligator. It didn’t take long for the gator to realize what was going on and make a mad dash for the protection of the tall grass on the shoreline. He hit the bank and never looked back, eventually slicing through my leader and letting me keep my cork.

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Shortly after the gator broke me off I was able to sightcast a 30” red by standing up in the LT and letting the wind push me towards the tailing fish. I could tell this fish would be out of the slot (Texas redfish slot is 20” to 28”) but who can resist sightcasting a 30” red in one foot of water. Johnathan was able to catch an oversized red a few hours later as it and a couple of other fish were barreling down the shoreline destroying any bait in their sight.

We ended the day each catching more 6 lb. reds than we could count, our two oversized fish, and a few larger ones that stayed in the slot and made the trip to the weighin. In the end, Johnathan took home 1st place out of 96 anglers with 15.56 lbs. while I finished 6th with 13.15 lbs. The Lone Star Kayak Series does a nice job of encouraging their anglers to bring in live fish by providing a 1/2 lb. bonus if at least one fish is brought in alive. I’m happy to say that all of my fish shot off like rockets when they hit the water.

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We had a great day on the water with a couple of nice stringers to end the tournament season. We took full advantage of the benefits that comes with fishing with a friend on tournament day, which I believe helped both us catch more fish than we would have alone.

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