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Monday, 20 April 2015 00:00

Titusville IFA Kayak Fishing Tour

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Sixty-eight kayak anglers participated in the Titusville IFA Kayak Fishing Tour in search of a bull red and a gator trout to win this event. I decided to be one of those anglers and traveled to Titusville, FL to fish the legendary Mosquito Lagoon. I’m always hearing reports and seeing photos of bull redfish and trout caught in the Mosquito Lagoon that dwarf a South Carolina redfish.

Chris & I left Charleston, SC at 4am Saturday morning. We arrived at the Beacon 42 boat ramp to pre-fish this section of the Lagoon. I saw a lot of reds and some nice trout, but I was unable to hook one for a tug-of-war. Three-quarters of the way along my drift plan, I noticed some tailing action ahead of me. I lowered the Power Pole “Micro-Anchor” to stop the Jackson “Big Rig” so I could figure out my approach to the tailing redfish.

I decided to use a Slayer “Sinister Twitch Bait” (S.T.B) in the Molting color pattern on their 5/0 1/16oz XXX Penetrator weedless hook. Casting this setup just in front of the tailing redfish, I waited till they were in the area of where the bait landed. I gave the plastic a slight jerk or two, and one of the reds picked up the bait. Fish on! During the battle I lowered the Micro-Anchor, hoping not to spook the other reds.

Lowering the anchor proved to make fighting the fish more difficult. He felt strong, so I decided to raise the anchor and enjoy a sleigh ride in the Big Rig. The redfish tired himself out by towing a three hundred plus-pound float as I enjoyed the trip. In no time, the redfish was in the kayak and on a measuring board for photos. He felt like a monster, but he measured 26”, near the upper end of the slot limit.

This would be the only hook up that I had for the day. I was happy, and decided that this area will be the location for tournament day. My buddy Chris’ day was not as eventful; he managed a hookup or two, but lost the fish during the battle. It was close to 3pm, so we loaded up the kayaks and headed to the weigh-in for anglers using flats boats. During the weigh, in I managed to get to meet fellow team member Alan Ryland. He told me what colors were good for him in the boat category. One was the Molting color pattern I had been using, and the other was the Venice Glow, both in the Slayer “Sinister Swim Tail” (S.S.T.). Since I did not have any of the Venice Glow, Alan searched his tackle bag and gave me a package. Thanks, Alan!

The weather forecast for tournament day was 15kt winds from the north and a ten-degree temperature drop. I had a bad feeling that these changes would impact the fishing. That evening I reconfigured two rods that had jig heads on, and switched them over to a 3/0 1/16oz XXX Penetrator weedless hook for the Slayer S.S.T. I planned to concentrate on a sea grass flat with sandy holes shattered throughout, and felt the jig heads would create more snags. The 3/0 hook makes the perfect S.S.T. combination, in my opinion.

When we arrived to the Beacon 42 boat launch early tournament morning, it looked like at least a third of the competition felt that this would be the area for the winning angler. Launch time was 7am, and we all were lined up to take the initial photo of the kayak, token, and the 321Fish measuring board. The race was on! It looked like the majority of anglers were paddling off to Pardon Island across the Lagoon, while four of us appeared to have similar plans of action.

I decided to paddle past two of the competitors, and encouraged Chris to keep up. The water had a lot of ripples on the surface, making it more challenging to spot fish. Occasionally I would notice some nervous water and would cast to that area, but no luck. I noticed some feeding action behind me, and motioned for to Chris to cast. The next thing I heard was “Fish on!” from Chris. He managed to catch his first Mosquito Lagoon redfish. The red measured outside the low end of the slot and did not count for the tournament. It did not matter; I had to get a photo of his redfish.

Chris managed to catch another puppy drum on the drift back to the launch site. It was getting close to 2pm - time to load up and head to the weigh-in to check in, have some lunch, and swap fishing stories from the day’s events. Chris and I reported no fish caught. For me this was true, but Chris did manage two in his kayak.

Congratulations to the following anglers for placing at the Titusville IFA Kayak Fishing Tournament: 

  • Ty Nelson with the largest redfish at 32.5”,and for first his first-place finish with 52.63”, 
  • Derek Engle, with an aggregate score of 45.13”,
  • Lachlan Cameron with 44.13”,and 
  • Rodney Nelson, with a nice gator trout measuring 28.38”. 

Tight Lines!

Last modified on Sunday, 19 April 2015 19:59
Darrell Olson

Darrell Olson an avid Fisherman enjoys bait fishing, using a spinning rod, bait caster, fly fishing, and fishing challenges that come his way. While living in England he was recognized as the 1981 Master Angler from the Rod & Gun Clubs of Europe. He has been kayak angling for a little more than five years. He is one of the founders of the South Carolina Kayak Fishing Association’s monthly Meet and Fish events. He is currently the Secretary/Treasurer of the Lowcountry Kayak Anglers. For the past three years he has been participating in the Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Kayak Tour for the Atlantic Division. Darrell is a member of the Jackson Regional Kayak Fishing Team, an Ambassador for Power-Pole and Raymarine. Darrell is also a member of the YakAngler Pro Staff and the YakAngler Will It Fish video series.




# Sauerkraut 2015-04-22 08:19
Conditions were tough on tournament day. It took a little while to figure out a pattern. The stong winds and tempurature drop forced the fish into deeper water. None the less, we had a great time. Nothing beats fishing a new location with a friend and both of us catching fish.

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