Flounder on Demand : Recap Slamboree Kayak Tournament2016

The Lafayette Kayak Fishing Club holds their largest tournament Slamboree every year the same weekend as the Grand Isle tarpon rodeo. This was my second time doing this event and my fourth tournament on La 1. I had yet to catch a  fish to weigh in any tournament I had participated in down there. My goal this time was to at least catch a fish that I could weigh in to break my La 1 tournament curse. After scouring the web and reading reports and articles and anything I could find I came up with three possible plans. We had planned to use the Friday before bouncing around checking the different areas out but we got a late start on the prefish day and missed the early morning bite. When we finally got down there at 8:30 we realized we weren't going to have time to hit everything. I had fished most of the six potential areas already so I decided to just check out one of the areas I had not fished before. As we launched  the water seemed high and dirty and I knew that might make red fishing tough later on.We put that on the back burner to see if we could find some decent trout while it was still kinda early. We pedaled around a while just surveying the new area until we got to a spot that had lots of bait a couple of casts later we both had a jumbo gafftop boated. We kept working this area with more gafftops of various sizes but only one small trout.  We kept moving towards the mouth of a large bayou water and bait was pouring out and dolphins were working the opposite side. I knew this would be a good fishing spot but Collin caught the only keeper trout from this spot. We gave up trout fishing to look for some reds we saw lots of mullet and sheepshead but no reds. We headed in at 4 the only thing we learned was that we could scratch that area off the list. We had a lot of decisions to make and not much solid info to base them on.

The first good decision I made was to not car camp on the island and go home and get a good nights rest in a real bed.  We both agreed that even though we sacrificed an hour of sleep we slept much better than in the Jeep. The drive down that morning also gave us time to go over the final plan for catching all three species. The second good decision I made was to fish the areas that I knew this made a huge difference when it came to catching fish on tournament day. We started off at 5:00 throwing topwaters in a deep cut with moving water the dolphins were working and bait was moving on the surface everything looked good. We immediately go into some action and trout were popping our lures out of the water but I could tell they were small fish. Collin quickly landed a 12 inch keeper now he just need ed to upgrade I kept plugging with nothing. We kept trout fishing and Collin upgraded to a 14 incher but I still was looking for my first fish. It was now 7:30 I  switched over to a mirrodine and was able to land a 12 inch keeper after that fish I was on a fast bite but most were 10 and 11 inchers. I was able to get a slight upgrade a 13 inch trout and I gave up on trout and went to try and find a  flounder. The rules were if you caught the slam you would get a 2 pound bonus added to your weight. With a small trout I knew I needed to catch a flounder and at least a 5 pound Redfish to have any chance at winning.
Collin had actually started flounder fishing before me I caught up with him while he was jigging along some rocks. I  followed him down the rocks for five minutes when I saw him pull up a small flounder he measured it and it came up 13 inches. I continued working the rocks  hoping I could get lucky I worked all the way down to the end with nothing I turned around and covered them back. I knew there was another flounder on these rocks I had a jig bit in half right behind the hook. I put on another jig and kept fishing I didn't feel a hit but my line felt like I was caught on an old snagged fishing line. I kept moving toward it and keeping tension it rose to the surface to my surprise it was a flounder. Against better judgement I flipped it in the boat without it doing its flounder escape magic. I now had my own 13 inch clone flounder It was only 9 o'clock and we both had two of the three species we needed. We had budgeted trout and flounder time until 10 but we decided there was no point trying to catch a upgrade we should spend as much time finding a fat 26 inch redfish. We headed back to the truck to head to a redfish spot that I had fished a couple years ago to hopefully get the redfish to round out the Slam.
  We got to the Leeville public launch at 10 plenty of time to catch a nice redfish to round out the slam. To be honest I was way to overconfident in my ability to catch a red. We fished until 11:45 when I finally caught a little 18 inch red. I was relieved to have completed the slam but I knew I had to get a bigger one to be truly competitive. I kept working throwing the chatterbait hoping to get that big bite I hadn't had all day. I found Collin who had caught a 12incher that would have won the leopard category if it was a little bigger. We still had 3 hours to fish and I was still confident I would upgrade my red I cast to a point and immediately had a hit I set the hook and reeled in a clone of the first red I threw it in the bag hoping it was a little bigger. I moved over to a little island I could see some bait fish acting nervous around the point I cast parallel to the bank a couple cranks and I had a fish and it took a little drag and came off. After I got my lure back the jig and skirt was pulled down and I knew I had just lost a bigger fish. We kept fishing until the last minute but all we could catch were a couple more 18 inch clones.  I was proud of our performance and I feel like I turned a corner by catching fish during an La 1 tournament especially a flounder. Maybe next time I will be able to find the big fish.

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