Seriously. You really cannot make up stuff like this. Seriously! It’s one of those, “no way” kind of stories. Imagine your toughest day on the water, amplify that by 10, and also do it on a tournament day. Seriously folks, it was truly one of those days where if it could go wrong, it did go wrong. Murphy was along for the ride that day, but brought his mom, dad, brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Seriously!Let me set the stage for you guys. We were fishing the Jax Classic this past weekend. The Jax Classic is one of the largest kayak fishing tournaments in the country. Not to mention that we were celebrating our anniversary of being married for 11 years. We knew we were going to have a great weekend, it had to be in our cards! Or so we thought!
We decided to take the Friday off before the Classic to do some prefishing. Truth be told we wanted an opportunity to just get out and fish together. You folks that have young kids seriously know the struggle with finding a sitter sometimes. We finally were getting the chance to fish together for 2 days in a row, and I was seriously stoked about that!
We took the kids to school, swung by our local bait and tackle shop to grab some bait and headed out to see if we couldn’t stir up some fish. We hit the kayak launch, unloaded the Old Town Predator MX and the Wilderness Systems ATAK 140 and headed out to our spot. I seriously did not think my shotty luck would take a turn for the worse at this point. The bite was extremely slow to start off with. We were sitting in a prime spot where I’d had a good day just a few days prior. The fish were all over the place, but nothing seemed to be biting. Once the tide starting coming in, it seemed like the bite picked up a little bit. I stuck a couple of redfish, nothing big, and so did Kaycee. Kaycee then caught a 20″ redfish to break the ice. She soon followed that up with a nice little 14″ flounder. We’d both caught two-thirds of our slam. I seriously thought the day was turning around, then it hit us. We started catching trash fish. It started out with catfish, then I landed a ladyfish, then completed the “trash can slam” by catching a stingray. We decided to pack in it and head back to get showered and get to the Captain’s Meeting. The meeting went great. I was fun to see old friends and catch up with new ones. We didn’t do too bad in the raffles either when we won a T Allen fishing rod and a nice Polar Bear cooler!
We woke up bright and early for the tournament. We were excited and ready to go. Everything was loaded up, and we were about to jump into the truck to head to the water. About to… It seemed one of our dogs had somehow escaped out of the back yard. Now launch time for the tournament was 6:10am. The puppy issue was realized at around 5:30am. 45 minutes later we find the puppy in our neighborhood and head off for the water. This put us at 6:15am. We were on the road heading to the water finally, when the phone rang. It was our neighbor telling us that she got out again, but he’d caught her for us. I turn the truck around and we go back to get this sorted out. After fixing the escape route for the puppy, we were finally on the road… the time was now 7:15am. We’d already lost an hour of fishing.
We get launched and head off looking for trout and flounder. Not even 30 minutes on the water, and Kaycee gets snagged. She went to get unhooked and her rod snapped. Seriously, things were definitely not going our way at all! All of this aggravation and all we had to show for it was a broken rod and not even a sniff of a bite. We were pretty aggravated at this point, so we decided to just go fish for fun, and see where the day would take us. We headed to another spot by a dock and I casted out a mud minnow on a Carolina rig. The bait wasn’t even in the water for a hot minute when my rod doubled over and something started peeling drag. Ping! It broke me off. Kaycee casted into the same spot, and bam hooked up. Rod doubled over, fish peeling drag! Ping…. same exact thing that had happened to me. We fished there a few more minutes, but nothing major happened, so we paddled off to another spot.
We were feeling pretty frustrated so we decided to just have some fun looking for redfish, and I knew of one spot where we could do that. We paddled down this narrow and shallow creek to my redfish honey hole. We turned the corner to not find 1, but 4 anglers sitting there waiting for the bite. UGH! This day was getting better and better by the minute. We paddled off to another low tide spot where I’d had good fishing in the past. We get set up, and about five minutes later, my rod doubled over. I reeled in a nice 23.25″ redfish, and finally the ice had been broken. We both thought for sure that our luck was definitely going to change. We fished there a few more minutes, then moved on to another spot. We fished a couple more areas, but nothing biting. I noticed a couple of oyster mound around a creek opening just off the bank. I figured I’d set up there, fish the deep cut and try my luck. As I entered the spot, I spooked a 19″ flounder. I mean, spooked is used lightly here. This fish ran up on the bank about 15 feet behind me and hit the bank so hard it was flopping all over the place. In my defense, I was dumbfounded on what to do and sat there and watched. Granted this all took place in about 10 seconds, but it felt like much longer.
We fished there a few more minutes and Kaycee caught a few dink trout. We decided to push off and fish another area. I was trolling a bass assassin curly tail lure on a Road Runner jighead when a decent trout hit the line. Of course, the fish gods weren’t exactly finished making our day a complete hell, so they decided to pump up the winds a good little bit for fun. Yeah, seriously, it really was this bad. Of course the trout managed to spit the hook and I paddled over to a nice flat where the tide had just started pushing water into it. I was gonna scope out this flat while Kaycee paddled over to a small cove to check for fish and escape the wind a little. I stood up in my ATAK and started poling this flat. Just as I entered this flat, I noticed a nice school of upper slot redfish swimming along, about 8 of them. I grabbed the remote to drop my Power Pole Micro Spike down, and a massive gust of wind came from behind me. Needless to say, I spooked everyone of them out. I then paddled over to Kaycee, and she also has a look of disgust on her face. She’d just casted a mud minnow under a popping cork into this shallow cove and watched a 30″ redfish with his back out of the water go screaming for and hit her line. I know, you guys have got to be thinking to yourselves, “seriously, there’s no way it could still be going south for them right?!?!” Well, you’d be wrong, because this stud redfish spit the hook. The time was hitting around 2pm now and we’d just about had all the disappointment that we could handle at this point, so we decided to start paddling in. Of course, there was a nice headwind of at least 20+ that we were going to have to contend with on the paddle back in.
We started paddling in, and decided to try the docks where we’d started from earlier in the day. The tide was still coming in and perhaps we’d get lucky and stick a nice red or 2 to salvage our day. We anchored up in between 2 docks and started casting out. Kaycee caught a couple of smaller redfish, so we stuck around a few more minutes. I had a bait out and my rod was sitting in the rod holder. A buddy had texted me asking how our tournament fishing was going. I simply replied, “crap”. He texted back saying he’d had a tough day, to which I replied, “mine was worse.” Now, to add insult to injury, as I was texting something bumped my line. Kaycee said something just hit your line and I replied I know. Now I had literally just hit send on the text where I said mine was worse. As soon as I hit send, whatever had bumped my line, really bumped it this time. It hit my line, the rod doubled over and somehow bounced out of my rod holder and into the water, and was gone in a matter of 2 seconds. I stood up in my kayak, and I’m not quite sure that the language was even understandable at this point, but you can easily imagine what type of wording was being used.
I was ready to give up, go home, and lick my wounds for the day. Kaycee reeled in and started casting and dragging bottom in hopes of somehow retrieving the rod. I grabbed a rod, after my temper tantrum to end all tantrums, quickly rigged it to drag bottom and went about looking for the rod. After about 20 casts I felt something, and slowly reeled it in. Finally, some good luck! We’d found the rod and got it back into my yak. The time was now roughly 3pm, and we’d both agreed to call it a day, go home, and lick our wounds.
It was seriously the toughest day we’d ever experienced on the water, but on the bright side, we go to spend it together. And, hey, I can guarantee you that we’ll never forget that anniversary that we spend on the water together. We seriously need another shot on the water though!