Fishing partners make the trip
It’s often been said that “God does not deduct the time from a persons life that’s spent fishing;” what a wonderful thought. Some of the best memories I have revolve around the sport of fishing and the people I have had the opportunity to share time on the water with. Days where I don’t think we could’ve possibly caught another fish, along with days where I couldn’t buy a bite, they are all good for various and different reasons. Recently I got a chance to add one more of those great memories to the list.
For several years now my son Hunter has been after me to fish a tournament together, any tournament as long as it was just us. The perfect opportunity presented itself as the Extreme Redfish tournament series made it’s way to Sabine and set up shop at Port Neches Park. This very popular tournament series is geared toward Texas anglers and the most popular venues along coast. Naturally the tournament would make it’s way to our part of the world for the opportunity to tangle with some of these heavy cajun redfish that call Sabine home. In past years some of the heaviest stringers weighed in at any redfish tournament have been caught right here on Sabine and Calcasieu, this area has a reputation for turning out some real heavyweights.
In the days before the tournament the wind blew like nobody’s business and forced many of the teams that were pre-fishing to the calmer waters of the marsh. With the increased traffic now on the water I had planned to fish a change in plans was in order, the focus now would be to the east and the marshes that surround Calcasieu. Thanks to some great information from another close friend, Ron Begnaud, we had good idea of where we wanted to concentrate. Only one problem with this plan, the long run and the shallow water would require a special combination of a boat. A phone call to Rick Kersey solved that dilemma. Kersey is a representative for Maverick Boat Company and the proud owner of a 17 foot Maverick skiff that is a down right fishing machine. The 17 foot Maverick HPX is capable of 40 miles an hour top speed and able to float in 8 inches of water, our problem was solved. Rick came over the day before the tournament and we pre-fished together, the day was a huge success and our game plan was set.
The day of the tournament started early, well before daylight. Hunter, who is now 14, and driving occasionally, launched the boat and parked the truck. Together we made our way out into the pack of boats floating in the Neches River awaiting the start of tournament. As luck would have it we drew a great number, we were the number three boat to take off. The early start would mean nothing more than we would get a chance to see all the other “go fast” boats pass us up. One by one they blew by us before we reached the Rainbow Bridge and one by one they all went west. Hunter and I along with one other team went east towards Calcasieu. The 90 minute run was a little better courtesy of an iPod and a few tunes.
Once we reached our destination we got on the trolling motor and located exactly what we had seen in practice, schools and schools of redfish. On the second cast Hunter had a huge blow up on a top water plug and was quickly hooked up. It was plain to see he was nervous about landing the fish and worried about losing it. I took that opportunity to show him the four other schools in the pond we were fishing, “don’t sweat it pal, we have fish everywhere, just take your time and have fun.” The relief on his face was evident as that first fish swam into the net and he gave me a big high five. As he unhooked his fish and measured it I stuck another fish and had it to the boat, we had our two fish and now the pressure was off. For the next two hours we caught nearly two dozen redfish and just down right had a ball in the process.
We left that pond in search of some bigger fish but it wasn’t meant to be. Our ride back to the weigh in was leisurely and laid back, we had done what we set out to do. Our plan worked out and we had made a good showing for ourselves. At the scale Hunter took the fish up and did the song and dance as he told the tournament folks how we caught the fish and thanked the sponsors. I sat back and watched as my “partner” seemed to grow up right there in front of me. He had come a long way since those days when we soaked dead shrimp and caught croaker by the dozen. As far as fishing partners go I have a good one.