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  I arrived in Jacksonville a couple days early to do some socializing and fishing with friends.  Upon arrival, myself and Kevin “Troutman” Kappel fished in the Mayport area to get our Jacksonville fishing fix.  We were able to get into a few nice flounder on artificial baits.  The paddle was nice, sneaking up on schools of mullet and floating over a 10lb. Sheepshead was really cool and allowable with the stealth of the Jackson Cuda.

Trey Leggett

   The following day was filled with game planning, socializing with other kayak fishermen, getting bait, and organizing tackle and gear for tournament day.  That evening all participating kayak anglers attended the mandatory Captain’s meeting at the Ramallah Club.  435 anglers registered for the event.  Drew Gregory was set up at the entrance door showing off the Jackson Cuda and Big Tuna, many of the participants stopped to check out the kayaks.  During the Captain’s meeting Drew was called up on stage to talk about Jackson Kayak and their participation in this year’s event by providing a Jackson Cuda for one of the prizes.

   After the Captain’s meeting Drew asked if anyone had a room to share for the night, since he had driven in town that day he hadn’t made any reservations and all motels/ hotels were booked due to the TPC, Funk Feast, and a ship came.  Steve Gibson and I were staying in the same room and told Drew he could use our floor space or room chair.  Back at the room, Steve and Drew began rigging for the next day and prepping their gear.  I won’t go into detail, but Drew needs an inshore fishing rod & reel sponsor!!  As we began to settle down for a few hours sleep, I noticed Drew airing up his camping pad so he could crash on the floor.  Steve gave him a blanket and we each threw him a pillow to ease his comfort.  I knew Drew was a trooper and hardcore, but just before I turned out the lights I saw that Drew had set up his sleeping quarters under the motel rooms vanity.  Wow!  I wish I would have taken a picture of his little encampment.  He said he was good and it beat the conditions he slept in for the previous few days camping along the Devil’s river in Texas. 

   Tournament morning came in a flash and off we were to the fishing grounds.  Steve, Drew, and I had chosen to fish in different locations.  Fishing started at “Safe Light”, which on this day was 6:10am.  I began the day throwing top water plugs in hopes of finding some trout and soon switched to soft plastic lures and popping corked plastics and mud minnows.  My first fish was a feisty 23 inch redfish that pulled my Jackson Cuda around for awhile before I got it landed and photographed.  My next fish was another redfish measuring 21 inches.  I landed several flounder tournament day, but all of them were below competitive measurements.  In true typical tournament day fashion, the winds blew angrily all day.  In spite of covering many miles on the water, the Jackson Cuda did just fine in the wind and currents.

   Many nice fish were caught by Jackson paddlers and the rest of the anglers in the tournament.  Congratulations to all the winners!  407 anglers actually fished the event and $35,000 was raised for the events charities.  Drew, Steve, and I talked to many anglers about the Cuda and Big Tuna kayaks, there was a lot of interest. 

Showing off the Cuda

 Here’s a graph of winners and top scorers.

Trey Leggett

Jackson Kayak Fishing Team