The Underachiever

Friday evening before the tournament the
average trout were 18 inches. 
My tournament slump continues after starting strong with some solid finishes in The Top Bag and Redfish Rumble. This past Saturday I fished the Bayou Coast Kayak Fishing Club Trout Challenge which was going to be easy because I had consistently been catching some nice trout in my favorite Lake Pontchartrain. My little brother Collin was going to participate in his first tournament and I had everything figured out. The Friday before tournament Collin and I headed out to Lake P to hone in on the bite before the tournament the next day. We made the short paddle out to where we wanted to start and on my second or third cast fish on a solid 18 incher was in the net. We spent the next few hours reeling in some sizable trout while jockeying for position on the bridge between the boats that were soaking live shrimp. They were also catching a steady  mix of redfish, trout ,and sheepshead. As we returned to the launch as the sun was setting Collin and I finalized our plans to return early saturday morning to fish the tournament.

Saturday morning Collin and I woke up at 3:30am I made a couple PB&J sandwiches for breakfast and I was ready to head to the lake. While we were eating Collin decided to check the weather and told me there was a west wind. If I wasn't fully awake at this point I was after Collin read the wind forecast the wind changed . make the lake rough and dirty. Decision time do we tough out the rough lake or make a last minute change and go somewhere else.I thought about it for a few minutes and decided to change and run to a spot down highway 23 where I have caught a lot of big trout on topwater. My new plan was to get a couple good fish on topwater before going to my deepwater jigging spot to round out the five fish stringer. We arrived at the launch quickly rigged up the yaks and tied on topwaters and headed for the flat. When we got there bait was everywhere and we quickly received a few bumps on the topwaters. At this point hopes were high and I hooked a nice trout only for it to shake off near the boat. Undeterred I kept casting the topwater missing trout after trout confidence fading with each miss. The finally I cast to a point and a big Speck grabs my top water and starts running it came up to the surface and then went on a drag stripping run where it successfully threw the hooks. Now I felt my plan b starting to go off course two nice trout lost and countless others evading our hooks. It was still early and we still had plenty of time to salvage the day. I continued tossing the topwater but the popping hits from speckled trout turned into huge explosions from redfish. Three casts in a row yielded huge blowups and this solid redfish pictured below. We fished the rest of the day in my deepwater spot catching plenty of throw back 11 inch specks and rat reds not what we needed on tournament day. It ended up being a decent day on the water where we caught a bunch of fish but a horrible tournament. Every day is a learning experience and that day I was reminded that you can't control the weather, and topwater is not a good bait to put your tournament hopes behind. Congrats to the winners who had some impressive stringers.

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