It’s been a little while. Yeah, I’ve been a little off this year, skunking in 3 tournaments in a row. Lovely. Let’s just say bad game day decisions. On a brighter note, the Monsta Banana is no longer mine. It serves another master, hopefully well. I have acquired a 2021 PA 14, rigged with the same pvc rod holder that’s served me well through 3 kayaks, $40 eva floor installed personally, a new and improved 7′ x 1 1/2″ mud anchor complete with paracord grip, and lastly a Lowrance 9″ GPS/Fishfinder complete with a kickass satellite imagery chip. I haven’t named it but am considering The Ghost as the dune color definitely fades into the horizon.

My wife had hand surgery Friday morning so I got her home and comfortable and waited for her first scheduled meds before I loaded up and rolled to GI. Stopped at Reggie’s Golden Meadow Rouses to grab some steaks and the official summertime requirement, Slow Melt ice. I don’t know what it is but it definitely lasts longer. Stopped 4 times on the way to Bridgeside to check water quality, nothing great. My buddy John is lodged at Bridgeside so rolled in, had a great dinner and bedded down about 11, pretty late for me but hanging with the party king.

Woke at 4, filled my coffee cup and headed for the kayak launch to find muddy water. I’m out. The bad news is little or nothing is open down there, especially at 430. The good news is there are porta potties everywhere so I  made a bowel evacuation pit stop. Ahhhhhhh. Stopped at Elmers, chocolate milk. On to Leeville. When I got to Lance’s Launch(officially on Googlemaps), I could see down a foot with my headlight. Launched just after 5 and pedaled quite a ways. Made my first cast at 605 and didn’t get a hit till about 615. The first 2 trout were legal, but not submission worthy. Number 3 was about 14″ so out came the board and phone. A few seconds later the fish decided it was time to get back in the water and I laughed aloud, no one visible for miles around to hear. A couple cast later, a monster trout came out of the water with my topwater. It was on! Drag screamed as the fish swam out away from me. A few minutes later, I got it to the side of the boat to view it’s beautiful enormity, just before it spit the hook, leaving me open mouthed, net in hand. Fabulous. Didn’t get another topwater bite and it was a little breezy and rough, so started popping Vuduencork. Was treated to a 16.25″ trout shortly after. Landed, successfully photographed and submitted. On the board! First time in three tournaments, lord!

I was heading across open water to fish a point when the first recreational boat of the day flew by, only to pull up to the point I was headed to fish, positioning poorly. I fished the nearby shoreline and gave them a little time to fish and hopefully leave, then anchored properly a couple cast lengths away. It was a family in a big bay boat, probably about 6 of them. I was friendly and greeted them then asked how many fish they had, 2, between 6 of them. A couple minutes later I hooked up on my bull with a jighead. They heard my drag screaming and saw the commotion. The dad asked what it was and I told him it was my tournament bull red. I carefully took my time letting the fish wear out before netting, photographing and reviving to watch it swim away. That must have put the boater over the edge because he left after I caught a couple legal trout, releasing them as well. The red was over 30″ but that’s what i got for it. Maxed out on red, that’s where I was!

I re-rigged for flounder with 2, 1/8 oz Deathgrip Jigs, one Chartreuse Gulp Curlytail and a white Gulp shrimp on top. This rig has never failed me in good conditions. The water had cleared up and I still had several hours before high tide. I started fishing points, cuts, flats….all the likely spots. Caught a few trout and rat reds but had plenty of time so I just keep fishing. I cast on a point and felt a light bump, set the hook and drag started screaming. Trout over 19″ photographed, released and submitted. Next cast over 20″ landed and submitted. Caught and released 3 more around that size in next hour, fishing for flounder. Fished back to the launch and moved to 2 different areas where I’d caught flounder in the past. Fished till 8, failed to catch flounder. Went back to John’s and found Wade and Tiffany hanging out. John and Keith had caught some big shrimp in the surf and were frying them up. What a fabulous meal! They were all partying but I excused myself to pass out at 1030, alarm set for 430. Didn’t take long to pass out.

Six hours of sleep would have to do. More coffee and ibuprofen on the way to Lance’s for some fun. Made my first cast at 515 and hooked big trout but lost him trying to flip him in the boat. Got on a point and caught about 6 more including one over 19 that I released quickly. Then the topwater bite was over. That’s why I go fishing! The topwater explosion, the bump on the invisible jighead, the scream of the reel. I had breakfast and hung out for a bit just enjoying the day, being out on the water. John called from the launch and I told him where I was. We caught fish everywhere. No monsters but some decent trout. Light breeze, clean water, good tide movement, it was a great day! The bite slowed and we were working our way back to the launch. I listened to the awards ceremony as I pedaled and was happy to hear I qualified for the championship, although I wasn’t in the money. Austin Johnson not only ran me over with the bus, but then backed up over me. Well, it’s an improvement! I might add that I had the highest 2 fish score in the tournament. I’ll be fishing a few times between now and Trout Challenge. I’ll see ya’ll on the water, cause you know, I can’t wait till the next trip!