Every now and then it’s nice to set aside personal issues and give back for a worthy cause. I did just that recently. I fished the annual Rockport Yak Attack charity tournament benefitting Camp Aranzazu. The tournament weigh-in and captain’s meeting were at Camp Aranzazu’s beautiful facilities in Rockport, Texas. Camp Aranzazu is a not-for-profit, year-round camp that serves individuals with chronic illnesses or disabilities.
I spent three days fishing, relaxing, and downing a few brews in the Coastal Bend. Friday the fishing was awesome. I found numerous schools of redfish along with some big singles cruising around. The water levels were running extremely low which made finding fish easy. All I had to do was find water; every small pool was holding fish. I caught a few fish on platics and topwaters then I broke out the fly rod and fed them flies. An epoxy shrimp I tied last winter did most of the damage.
I drove around and scouted a few spots on Friday afternoon. I also helped a nice couple change a tire that blew out on their SUV on the highway by one of the spots I checked out. They couldn’t find their jack so I offer mine and my assitance. After helping them out I headed to the captain’s meeting. Leaving the captain’s meeting I had no gameplan for tournament day. The tournament was a CPR (catch, photo & release) format with the winning prize going to the angler with the longest combined length of one trout and one redfish. I haven’t fished for trout since winter so I had no idea where I was going to fish for trout. My buddy, David, was fishing with me on tournament day so we decided to fish an area he knew well for the first couple of hours of the day to see if we could catch a trout and then head to where I found the reds the day before.
We woke up to strong NE winds on tournament day. We fished shallow structure and drifted potholes and drop-offs. We only got a few bites. David landed one small trout and one five spot red. We packed it up after a couple of hours and headed to our next spot to find bigger reds. We arrived to find about 1′ more water than the day before. The high water and wind made it tougher to spot the schools but we found a few along with few scattered singles. I landed a handful of reds including a five spot red. David caught one red that he spooked first. David’s red was about an inch bigger than my biggest.
We had some decent mid-slot fish but nothing spectacular. We still didn’t have a trout. We were a long way from the launch and time was almost up, so we started fishing our way back to the launch. On the way in we found some small trout and ladyfish blowing up on schools of newly hatched shad. David landed one small trout on a Mirrolure Catch Jr. He was about to throw it back but I convinced him to snap a photo before he released it. He thought no way that fish would help him place but I knew it was going to be a tough day for everyone.
We made it to the weigh-in with a few minutes to spare. I was really suprised when my name was called for 3rd place red. I thought no way a mid slot fish was going to place at all. David ended up taking third place with a 38″ two fish stringer. He was also very suprised to take home a prize. David and I also tied for redfish with the most spots award but he weighed-in first, so he claimed the prize.
On Sunday I fished a spot for a couple of hours on the way home. I only saw a few reds the whole time until I was paddling back to the launch. I found several reds stacked up in one area and I managed to catch a couple on a plastics. One of the reds was missing of of it’s eyes. This is the second time this has happened this year.
I had a blast competing against and hanging out with many fellow kayakers from across the state. The tournament raised money for a worthy cause, and the food, door prizes, Team Realtree (see picture below), etc. were all welcome bonuses. I will be back again next year for this event.