Orange County fishing club off to a good start
There was apparently a price to pay for the trout fishing to improve this past week. As the trout bite continued to get better, the redfish bite surprisingly weakened. Not being one prone to over analyzing the technical aspects of fishing, Albert Bates suspects that an alien vessel whisked them all away Tuesday night!
Right or wrong, that, along with a horrendous south wind made it not only very tough on local anglers, but the tournament fishermen as well. The newly formed Triangle Tail Chasers Club kicked off their tournament season Saturday morning and it was a challenge to say the very least.
The club has a very appealing format in that each two man team can weigh in six fish at the end of the day. A full limit consists of two reds, two trout and two flounder which means that you have to be versatile to score well. Because you can fish only artificial lures, at some point during the day you are going to have to switch gears to catch all three species.
Every tournament also features a wildcard pot which includes everything from a redfish with the most spots to a legal trout or red closest to a determined length. It really makes for an interesting wide open tournament that should appeal to competitive fishermen that work a regular job and have little time to scout during the week.
You do not have to worry about competing against full time guides and every tournament is a one day event with a very reasonable $60 per team entry fee. There is a $40 yearly membership fee and every member that enters all 8 tournaments in addition to monthly winners will qualify for the championship to be fished at the end of the year.
The next event is scheduled for April 16 with a side pot for the redfish with most spots. For more information you can check out their web site at www.triangletailchasers.com .
Not surprisingly, Albert Bates and his brother in law, Mac Jank teamed up to win the first event of the year last Saturday. That makes his Alien theory a little more credible doesn’t it!
It was the way they won the tournament that surprised even Bates and Jank. They caught their two trout very quickly; the largest which was a solid five pound fish, but could not catch their second flounder or a single slot red over the next six hours.“We caught more trout, but we just couldn’t catch a red and I thought it would be the other way around,” said Bates.
With 25 minutes left until weigh-in, he and Jank pulled off one of those very rare, “Its never over until it’s over” feats.“We stopped along a stretch of shoreline only minutes away from the weigh-in site and I was telling Mac about how Damon and I won a bass tournament in the last minutes a few years back,” said Bates.“I was still talking when a slot redfish crashed my spinner bait. Two casts later the same thing happened and we were limited!”
They won $780 with 18.2 pounds and a trout that won them the wildcard pot as well. Not a bad day for someone that told me the night before that they weren’t going to waste their money Saturday after a tough practice day on Friday.
We had a tough week as well that started with a cold front and 20 mph north winds and ended with two days of 25 mph south winds. I was pleased, however, that the better trout are showing up again and we also caught some very nice flounder all but one day. The flounder were hanging around the points and drains and were willing to hit the same lures we were using to target redfish.
The trout ate everything from TTF Flats Minnows and Assassin Die Dappers to Top Dog, Jrs. through Saturday afternoon. The wind finally gave local anglers a break Sunday afternoon and both the redfish and trout were far less picky.
We went from grinding away for a few fish to limiting fairly easily on both trout and reds Sunday. I don’t know that we couldn’t have caught them on anything in the box, but we fished two lures that I haven’t fished in a while and we were afraid to experiment any further.
Convinced that we had found the trout fishing a tail, I switched to the small MIrrodine in electric chicken and the catching got crazy. I had talked with Nick Poe last week and he said that they had done better with the smaller Mirrodine on Big Lake and he was apparently on to something. I did give the XL a try for a short period of time with poor results.
Kyle Lott later decided to give one of my new Crazy Croakers a try and by the end of the day that is all we were fishing. His brother, Sandy, rigged it under a Kwik Cork and probably caught as many fish as we did casting and cranking.
I say “new” Crazy Croakers only because they have a new look with a much more resilient paint job. Shawn Hebert said they are now air brushing all of their baits and have added more durable eyes that will not peel off. We caught a lot of trout and redfish on one lure and it still looked as good as new at the end of the day.
Here is one quick tip regarding the Crazy Croaker. Either fish it with an inline swivel and a short length of leader or attach it with a small quality swivel with a twist clip rather than a snap. Otherwise, the lure will twist your line badly and it is a mistake to not include this little lure in your trout arsenal when there is an easy fix. They have also added some new colors and their pearl-pink/chartreuse model was the ticket this weekend!