Last weekend I had the opportunity to fish in the 4th Annual Castaway Cup. When I originally signed up for the event it looked as if the weather was going to be perfect. However, as the week progressed it was becoming evident that a northern was going to settle right smack dab in the middle of this event. Despite wind and wave it was still a great day to be on the water.
When I first started preparing for the tournament I had picked a launch point that I thought would give me access to multiple species of fish. The Castaway Cup is a three species tournament (red, trout, & flounder) with hourly weigh in prizes and so I wanted as many opportunities as possible. The only problem with this launch is that it required me to paddle all the way across a relatively large bay directly into the forecasted 31mph NE wind. I began to reevaluate my decision and eventually decided to launch on the north side of the aforementioned bay. This choice allowed access to a protected shoreline, which doesn’t always produce more fish, but it gave me a better opportunity to find them.
Official launch time was at 6:30, but I had a few morning setbacks that put me on the water around 7:00. I started my morning off chasing large groups of birds actively feeding on the surface, but was only able to manage a few undersized trout. After about an hour I started to understand the trend. I was doing a lot of work with very little payoff. At this point I made my way back to the protected shoreline, my original plan, and went on the search for wakes and swirls.
It didn’t take long before I spotted my first swirl about 5 feet off the grass line and right over a relatively large shell reef. I pitched my H&H Curl Tail right into the center of the swirl and was rewarded with an immediate hook up. After a short fight I had a pretty solid red on the stringer that measured right at 25”.
I continued my pattern hoping it would pay off with an upgrade, but it was to no avail. At this point I made my way to a deep cut that I had seen on google earth the day before. My plan now was to work the drop off at both ends and hopefully pick up a nice flattie. After arriving at the location I staked out and went to work. Three casts in I get a thump, but it’s not the right one. I buzz in a 16” trout and put her on the stringer. I debated on whether or not to keep this one, but with the conditions the way they were I hated to throw back a legal fish.
I worked the cut for about an hour and continued to catch trout right around 15”. They were just stacked on top of each other in that deeper water and were seemingly pretty hungry. At this point it was getting close to weigh in time and I had a pretty lengthy trip back to the truck. A few minutes into my paddle back the wind shifted from NE to SE and allowed me to drift all the way back to my launch. I fished the entire way, but didn’t pick up a single fish.
Got the truck loaded, got my fish safely secured in my live well. And started my hour long drive to Harborwalk for the weigh in. ***Side note*** I have been extremely pleased with my homemade live well. I have yet to lose a fish since I started using it and have had as many as 3 reds in it with no problems. I hope to get some photos of it up soon!
The weigh in closed at 3pm and I made my grand entrance at 2:15. After weighing in my fish I was greeted with some unfortunate news. I misunderstood the rules and there would be no hourly winner awarded between the 2 and 3 o’clock hour. If they had awarded money for that hour my fish would have banked me a $200 check. I guess I should have attended the captains meeting, because as things stood, I didn’t stand a chance in the overall with my two very average fish. So all that was left to do was buy a few raffle ticket, grab a plate and a cold beverage, and enjoy the live music.
I also made a trip over to the Castaway van to pick up my free gift. Every angler received a free Castaway rod and a $50 gift card to the Houston Gold Exchange. I assumed that we would just get whatever overrun rod that Castaway had in stock, but after talking to the reps I was pleasantly surprised. They actually had several models with multiple speeds and actions. Every angler had the opportunity to handle each sample and pick the one that best suited their needs.
The buffet dinner was provided by “Floyd’s on the Water” and the entertainment for the afternoon was “Harbors Over Highways.” Both the food and the music were outstanding and I expect to see them at more events in the future. The local CCA partnered with Castaway to host a great family friendly event with lots of cash and prizes. I can’t wait to try my luck again next year and you should too! If you are interested in fishing this event you can find more information at castawaycup.com
|30 MPH||Incoming w/Small Differential||Sunny||Rising||1-3 ft||Mixed Mud & Shell||Skitterwalk H&H Curl Gulp Curl|