Castaway Lodge Seadrift Report
By Capt. Kris Kelley
"First & Third, Castaway Capts. At It Again"
The big news around here is the Oilfield Helping Hands tournament befitting under priveledge youth. I've been participating in this tournament since its inception fishing with Max B. and guests from Seaboard. We've always done well and honestly, catching fish has been more of a focus rather than winning. Somehow, we typically manage to place somewhere in the top 5. When Bob set the hook on a solid Redfish mid-morning I knew it was a brute. As I pulled the fish from the net I felt like it was pushing the upper end 28" mark on the slot. As I measured the fish on my Check-It Stick I struggled to touch the 28" line but could do it with different positioning. A perfect 28" fish is a little "perilous" from a legality standpoint. I decided we'd put it on ice hoping for a little bit of shrinkage and include it in the slot total. We had a big run on Redfish taking all but one of the legal limit.
We pulled off the Reds in search of some Trout action and immediately located a slow bite on fish to 23". Returning to the ramp, I took another look at the bruiser that was pushing the slot. When I laid it on the stick, it easily looked to me like the fish was an 1/8" over the 28" mark. The guys were bummed but we had some solid fish that would surely put them in the money. I thought the best course of action was to apply a tag to the Redfish in question while keeping it on ice and taking a back up fish. That way, we would be covered legally, ethically, and also have a back up entry. I told the guys that a Check It stick is a great tool but I wouldn't put 100% reliance on it's indications. With the fish being on ice another hour or so prior to wiegh-in, anything can happen. Sure enough, when the fish hit the boards at the tournament it was an 1/8" under the 28" slot and our team took 1st place biggest Redfish at 9.1 Lbs.
Sometimes winning a tournament is separated by the finer details, strategy, and logistics or a "mental game" if you will. Where there is a "will, there is a way". Best way to fish a tournament that I've seen time and again is to not assume anything; don't think you know the outcome of a particular situation; and always have a backup plan; and think pro-actively. Just think it's always better to be lucky than good. How about being both lucky and good!
Capt. James managed to find the elusive Flounder and hit a Texas Slam in the tournament. For big stringer, the team really needed a Redfish, Trout, and Flounder. His Team from Boots & Coots picked up a solid Flounder to add to their massive box fish including full limits of Trout and Redfish to take 3rd Place Big Stringer. That Flounder came off a stretch of Trout real estate that both James and I have fished our entire careers without ever catching a Flounder, ever. What are the odds? Capt. Doug reinforced the B & C Teams efforts with solid Redfish and Trout to 21".
The Full Moon here in August has been much better to us than the Full Moon in July. We had a pretty good tide dump out yesterday and Redfish were shoulder to shoulder over area flats on mud/grass. Slick off conditions made them tough to approach but it was fun riding the burn bar with guests looking at the health of the fishery. Trout continue coming off of deep shell beds. Capt. James went long on number yesterday despite the glassy conditions taking full limits.
We hope you have a great week, come see us!
Capt. Kris Kelley