When I arrived, Brookland Goldsmith and her team mate, Chaz Laird, were nervously pacing the floor of the Orange Boat Club.Neither of them paused long enough to talk as they occasionally checked their watches while counting down the final minutes before the weigh-in would conclude.

Winning the tournament would just be icing on the cake for what has been a memorable May for Goldsmith, an Orangefield High School senior.It started with yet another trip to state in the pole vault immediately followed by a very rewarding scholarship night at the High School.The common thread was that these achievements were the product of lots of hard work and determination.

Manuel Deleon, Brookland’s grandfather and their boat captain for the day, leaned back in his chair and recounted the day with Louis Moore over a bottle of cold-water.“It was a tough day of fishing and I hope they win,” said DeLeon.They worked really hard!”

“Brookland not only loves to fish, but does it very well,” added Manuel.“She fishes with us every time her busy schedule allows and more often than not, beats the socks off of us.A lot of kids are going to wish they would have fished today when they see the winning total, but catching fish under pressure is harder than it looks.”

A last minute phone call from the only team still on the water saying that they would not make weigh-in all but sealed the deal.Orange CCA Chapter president, Scott Bandy, counted down the final seconds and declared Goldsmith and Laird the winners.

Even the usually laid back Deleon was all smiles when Bandy announced that Laird and Goldsmith had won every category for the day.Aside from all of the money for heaviest stringer and largest red, their winning bounty included three rods, two dinners from Spankys and gift bags full of items provided by the sponsors.

“In spite of the great prizes and opportunity to support a very important cause, we didn’t draw the field that we hoped to in this inaugural event,” said Bandy.Part of it was due to the weather all week long, but we were also competing on the same day with two other tournaments and the boat races.”

“We are already looking forward to next year’s event,” added Bandy. “We have just blown the top off with our annual CCA Banquet and fully expect this tournament to grow as well.I would like to thank Granger’s Chevrolet, Sarge’s Custom Rods, Spanky’s Bar and Grill and Falcon Rods for their support.”

Even after Jim Morrissey patiently walking me through the format on two separate occasions, I am still not sure as to just how the Upper Coast Kayak Anglers Tournament worked this past weekend. What I am sure about, however, is that the competition was stiff and the final results were impressive!

It was a two day elimination challenge tournament between ten Sabine Area teams and ten Houston teams.The top six teams from each qualifying Club battled it out on Sunday.While there was prize money to be won, this challenge was more about winning the challenge than individual prize money.

When the smoke cleared Sunday afternoon, the Sabine Area team had won three of the top five places, but still lost the challenge.The team of Jake Jordan and Blaze Roberts weighed in the heaviest stringer with a 23.79 pound total. H-Town won the challenge by 15 pounds with 220.29 pounds of redfish. Jordan and Roberts also won the pot for the red with the most spots.

It was with great dismay that I watched the non-stop rain Sunday.You never know how much it rained north of us as well, but any rain at all was too much.In spite of the wind, the latter part of last week saw larger stretches of clearer water in the lake and improved trout fishing.

When the wind allowed, the best catches were taken off the jetties and the ship channel.Contrary to popular belief, there are more productive spots to fish between the Causeway and the jetties than Lighthouse Cove!

The clearer incoming tides produced a little bird activity and the flounder bite remained consistent.Some of the largest flounder I have seen recently came out of the ship channel.Five inch GULP curly tails have worked especially well on the larger flatfish, but Jason Breaux caught back-to-back five pounders on a Swimming Image Friday evening.

Hopefully this rain won’t hurt us too badly and the improved bite will set us up for a big weekend!