Saturday, June 14th, 2014 – On Saturday June 14th, I was entered to fish in two different fishing tournaments. In the Kyser Miree fishing tournament I was competing against other kayakers in the slot redfish division. In the Mystic Stripers Fishing Rodeo I would be going against boaters. Even though both tournaments offered a plethora of categories I decided I would focus only on slot redfish. I spent Friday night going over my gear ensuring all my reels were oiled and cleaned. I checked and double checked my fluorocarbon leaders to make sure they had no nicks of frays from the abuse of fishing over oyster beds. I made sure my Feelfree Lure 11.5 was loaded with everything I would need. After deciding on what I would start off with tied to my four rods I finally decided it was time to get some rest.
The alarm went off at 3:15 a.m. and I jumped up got ready and hit the road in route to water. After all my careful planning and checking I had left one small detail undecided. I still had no idea where I planned to fish. I had not been fishing much the last 2 months so I didn’t have any recent knowledge of where I had been catching decent reds. I decided to go with a dream I had the night before and went to a spot that hadn’t produced for me the last few times I had fished it. Talk about taking a leap of faith. Got to the area I launch just as the sun was coming up and the water looked perfect. Now to see if the redfish shared the same thought about the water being perfect.
It’s about a three quarter of a mile paddle to the mouth of a small creek that I like to fish so I struck out paddling. About half way to the creek I could see reds busting bait on the grass line so I decided to take a few cast to see if I could get a quick red. Well the reds may have been feeding there but they wanted no part of the topwater lure and jig I was tossing at them. After I reached the creek I picked up a few small speckled trout on a popping cork with a Vudu shrimp under it. On a normal day I would have been happy to stay there and catch them but I had redfish on my mind. About an hour later I finally found a red willing to attack the spinnerbait I was tossing. Fortunately for him he was only about 2 pounds so back in the water he went. Back to paddling and casting I went.
Now this is where the luck and fate comes that so much of fishing tournaments sometimes require. I had staked out at the mouth of a creek and was standing in the Lure 11.5 and casting my spinnerbait around the mouth of the creek. The wind had picked up and pulled my stake out pole from the mud and I had drifted away from where I wanted to be. Literally going with the flow I casted towards the grass line the wind had pushed me to. On the first cast my spinnerbait was slammed by a freight train. Fish On!! In Alabama our slot for reds is 16 to 26 inches. When she first rolled to the top during the fight I was worried she may be over slot. After a drag screaming fight I had her in the yak on my measuring board. She went 25 inches and looked thick. The night before I had joked with my girlfriend telling her I would have my winning fish and be off the water by 10 a.m even though weigh in didn’t close till 5 p.m. Looked at the time and it was only 8:30. I may have been joking that night but it looked as if I was right.
I started my paddle back to my truck so I could get her weighed in. Well as I was paddling back I kept seeing reds crashing the grass line. I knew I would be allowed to weight multiple fish and possibly place more then once in the same category. I saw a nice redfish crash and I tossed my spinner bait at her. She decided to wait until the lure was basically under my kayak before she hit it. Soon as he hit she took off to some heavy submerged grass. I was helpless to stop her as she ripped off line. Well once again luck was on my side. She got tangled up in the grass and I paddled over and dipped her up. Now I had another 25 inch red in the fish bag. Ok time to put up the rods and get to the truck.
Both weigh ins were at the same place at the Dauphin Island marina so that would make things easy. Got to the marina at 9:45 a.m. Told her I would be off the water by 10. I was the first person to weigh in for both tournaments. The first red weighed in at 5.47 pounds and the second red weighed in at 5.2 pounds. Not really as big as I thought the first would weigh but nothing I could do now but wait. With a few hours to kill I went home and cleaned up and picked up my girlfriend and headed for the marina. Got there about an hour before the scales closed. In the Kyser Miree I was holding 1st and 2nd place. I was actually Tied for 1st but since I weighed in first my fish was 1st. I was holding 2nd place in the Mystic Stripers tournament with an hour to go.
The Kyser Miree was first to close the scales and finalize the leader board. My two reds held for the 1st and 3rd place. Very excited to get the double placing in that tournament. Ended up with two awesome looking plaques, 65 quart Yeti cooler, and a 30 quart Cobalt cooler. The later, which my girlfriend quickly proclaimed as hers. Now on to the Mystic Stripes tournament awards ceremony. Well my red ended up 3rd place in this tournament. Considering I had competed against anglers in boats during this tournament I took a special pride in placing against them from my kayak. Ended up winning a nice plaque, fish fryer, tackle bag and some fish grips. All in all it was an amazing day on the water competing and representing Feelfree Kayaks.
I want to thank the Mystic Stripers Mardi Gras organization for once again putting on a great fishing tournament. Those guys really do a great job. The Kyser Miree tournament is put on in memory of Kyser Miree. I can’t say enough how much I enjoy being able to fish this tournament. They do some great things. Including helping out the needy in the community and awarding scholarships. Great group of people involved with that tournament.
Sibley “Scrib” Perry
Feelfree Fishing Team Member