Southbound & Down

This past weekend was Redbone Fishing Club’s Southbound and Down tournament. For those that do not know, Redbone one of the smaller kayak fishing clubs in South Louisiana. The others are the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club, the Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club, and the Lake Charles Kayak Fishing Club. Though Redbone seems to be the smallest of these, the club is growing. Most of Redbone’s tournaments are members-only. However, this weekend’s Southbound and Down was an open tournament.

I’ve been a Redbone member for a couple years now, but I invited Karl to take advantage of the opportunity to fish this tourney, since we hadn’t fished together in around 6 months or so. It’s really been too long!

The boundaries for the tournament included most of the LA 1 corridor from Galliano down to Grand Isle, presenting a lot of options. I believe most of the anglers opted to fish the northern marshes. It was a three redfish main stringer with a side trout/flounder calcutta.

The day started off beautifully, you couldn’t have asked for better weather. Karl and I were both using Jackson’s Flex Drive kayaks. I was in my Cruise FD and Karl was using a Coosa FD rented from Pack & Paddle. We watched dolphins smashing bait on the far bank as we headed to our first location.

We knew that most of the other anglers fishing this location had headed north from the put in, and I knew that there was good, clean water up there. But we didn’t want to have to be fighting with other anglers in some of those ponds and I knew of a few good spots to the south so thats where we took off for.

Karl caught two right off the bat. While drifting down a shoreline, he saw a push and decided to throw a Whopper Plopper to it. A few minutes later, the situation repeated itself and he had two fish in the bag! The second fish was a perfect tournament red, coming in at 26.5” and around 7 lbs.

We soon found ourselves navigating through a series of canals that you would swear were prime bass fishing territory. I stood in my Cruise, inspecting the shoreline of low-hanging and partially sunken trees and mud bottoms. Occasionally, I’d spot a redfish but they were extremely easy to spook off. Karl and I eventually noticed a red pushing a big wake down the shoreline. We followed him and I made cast after cast with a Curl-tail Bugg but couldn’t get him to turn on it. After following him for what seemed like a football field, he finally took it and I had one in the bag. A 3 pounder, but still a fish.

I caught a couple more near the mouth of those bayous. The first was caught after I casted the Bugg to what I thought was a tail. It wasn’t a very big fish but seemed it would definitely help. Right after putting him in the bag, I noticed a lot more commotion on the other side of the bayou with tails breaching the surface. I hooked and netted one of those. That fish turned out to be bigger than the previous, and since the previous had been caught about a minute before, I let the smaller one return to the marsh. I’m learning to be more intentional with the fish I target and keep during a tournament.

I now had two fish in a bag and they were average slot size. With a five fish limit, and needing three to bring to weigh in, I specifically wanted to cast to larger fish by this point. If all else failed, I would just try to catch one more average fish to have my three for the tourney.

We headed to a large grass flat. I love fishing grass flats because the water can be so clean and clear. We started noticing a ton of sheephead. We soon discovered that the reds were closer to the banks. I picked up another that I felt comfortable keeping, as did Karl. I did catch one that I thought would make the cut but it ended up being too large, at about 27.75”

I ended the day with 4 fish and my three-fish weight for the tournament was 14.60. Not great, but we found that everyone had a tough morning. Clean water and tons of fish, but the right sized ones were too cautious for us. I think I finished in 5th or 6th place. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough.

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