Monday, January 25, 2016

Kayak Angler Tournament Series First Round at Lake Bastrop

I never thought I'd do this.  Crowds of people don't usually thrill me and having other people around when I'm fishing is generally annoying, but this time was different!  I was competing in a tournament and my skill was on the line.

Sarah and I decided to start our day at midnight. Our plan was to go to bed early and leave the house at midnight so we could be there before the rush.  With 150 anglers expected to arrive, "the rush" was a very real concept. So we left the house around 12:30am and arrived at 1:30am. We were not the first ones though.  Someone else was already waiting in the parking lot and as we signed in, someone else came in behind us.  We decided to sit in the truck for a while and see if we could get a nap before the event started.

Around 4am the crowd really started to show up. I had actually slept for a bout 45 minutes when someone pulling in woke me up.  We decided to get going and unload and get setup. I wish I had taken more pictures of everything but since this was my first event of this type I was slightly distracted just taking it all in.

At 5:30am, the KATS staff had setup a table and people were starting to sign in.  This went on for about an hour. Then we had the captains meeting.  Since this was a road runner event some folks were given time to go to the other pier if they chose.  Most stayed near the North Shore launch and all launched at the same time.

We launched around 7 am and took off for the creeks and channels in all directions.  In retrospect I think I might have done better to pick a different spot, but it wasn't too bad.

Because I was doing my best to focus on getting to the front of the line, I didn't get a lot of pictures.  So I pulled some snapshots from my action camera to show you.

 The first pic is where I had my first strike. It was a decent sized fish but popped off after making itself known.  I had this happen several times which made it rather disheartening. If I had caught everything I had on the line I would have had 4 or 5 fish.  As it was, I actually went back and caught one of the fish that popped off earlier.

Here is one of the fish that I caught. This one was a nice sized fish.  Wish I'd caught a couple more of these. One of the fish I lost felt like it was at least this big.  But it is what it is. I caught two fish for the day and felt like I have really messed up.  But it ended up that over 25 fishermen didn't catch anything! So I felt much better about my measly "two fish".

I wish I had gotten a picture of the rain.  It was miserable.  After the first rain, I thought it was going to go well.  But it wasn't too long and another round set in and this time it got serious. So I found a bridge to get under while I messed around for a while.  I thought about just getting wet but I knew that as cold as I was, that wouldn't work.  So I pulled my Gore-tex pants out of my dry bag and proceeded to put them on while in the kayak.  Yep, this was a definite challenge, but I managed to do it. I then headed out into the rain and fished without any concern for getting wet.

Somewhere before this point my camera died and I didn't want to take the time to try to change the batteries in the rain, and by the time the rain stopped I'd forgotten all about changing batteries.  I just wanted to catch another fish. I tried heading back to the warmer channel, but the fish were all pretty much spooked by all the fishermen.  There were at least 4 boats, and several kayaks fishing the warmer water.  I tried fishing the power plant outlet area but it was just too crowded.

It was getting time to head back so I started making my way back across the lake stopping off at different points along the way to try attracting another bass.  Nothing I threw seemed to interest them so I finally just headed back and pulled out.  I was cold, had a desperate need to use the restroom, and was hungrier than all get out.

After making sure things were relatively secure, I headed off to go stand in line for 20 minutes.  Got to meet up with someone I knew and someone I knew but hadn't ever met. Yes, that's the funny part.  I ended up standing in line behind Andre Tyler and Stevie Nicole.  I recognized Andre from the time I met him on the water at Chandler Park in Georgetown.  The funny part is that I follow Stevie Nicole on my twitter but didn't recognize her even though I spent a couple minutes talking to Andre. hah!

After I got done registering my two fish, I got back into "sponsor mode" and tried to figure out where I could put my kayak to show off the Georgetown Mortgage name.  So I pulled it up not far from where all the other kayaks were so there would be people around it all the time.  It worked for the most part but I realized there could have been a better position later - behind the microphone area.  As it was, it was right in the middle of things so it wasn't too bad.

During the prize ceremonies and the raffles, I figured there was no way to win anything at this event.  Imagine my surprise when I found out they did a "General Raffle" that everyone was automatically entered in.  I actually won a minnow trap that I'll probably use some day if and when I go to the coast...  I don't use live bait for freshwater fish except maybe for catfish.

This pretty much ended out the day.  It was frigid by this point and after they had us all stand in line to take the group raffle shot, we all took off like scared rabbits except we were looking for warm vehicles. I was so cold by this point because I had take my coat off so people could see the Georgetown Mortgage on my shirt sleeves.  Whew!  I ran quick to get my coat when the all clear was given!

The things we do for notoriety!  Just glad I didn't get sick from being so close to hypothermia... yes, I was *really* cold!

That's it!  Was a good day overall. I met two goals I had made to myself when starting out:

1. To keep up with the footdriven kayaks. These guys were fast and didn't tire easy.
2. To catch fish and not be skunked.

I managed to make both of these goals so that pretty much made my day.

The KATS event was fantastic overall. Most of the folks were very friendly and I got to meet several nice folks like Andreas Wooten from Belton.  Cool guy and I'll definitely be looking him up next time!

Hope y'all enjoyed this! I am looking forward to fishing Houston County Lake near Crockett Texas.  It will be an interesting day since there will be no "warm water" spot for everyone to flock to.  Me, I'll be looking for the first available spot to fish depending on wind and water. No racing for me that day I don't think!

See ya all on the water!

Tight lines y'all!

Geeks Fish Too

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