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The Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic 2014 was another huge success. FINALLY, there was decent weather on tournament day. After the monsoon of 2013, sunny skies and a little wind were welcome.

This tournament draws my family from South and Central Florida and Louisiana. We’ve been fishing this tournament for 10 years. It’s as much a family reunion as a tournament but make no mistake, we love fishing.

The tournament ritual starts on Thursday night for me by attending Drew Gregory’s seminar at Black Creek Outfitters. Drew’s laid-back approach was more of a questions/answers type seminar where everyone just shares best tips/practices. It’s a fun evening and Black Creek goes all out with catered BBQ.

Friday morning was spent helping set up the venue and then the cousins start rolling in. After unloading all their gear into the garage, it’s strategy time and then on to the Captains’ Meeting. After the Captains’ Meeting, it’s back to the house for more strategy talk and checking and rechecking of all the equipment. Never fails that we stay up way to late high on excitement. Cousin Britt was super excited to paddle the new Big Rig during the tournament.

Saturday morning, up at 4:00 and loaded the kayaks on the trailer and then we are off for the launch. Of course, with 400+ kayakers fishing this tournament, almost every launch has others who are fishing the same area. Our spot was no different with about 20 kayaks ready to launch.

I had a plan and I stuck with it for the most part. Fishing for my trout first thing. It wasn’t huge but she put me on the board at 18.5. I moved on to fishing for reds. I lost one big girl right beside the yak and then had 2 break offs. I finally pulled in and measured a 24.5” red. The day was coming to an end and I needed a flounder – not my favorite fish to catch and I rarely fish for them but I had to do it. I paddled to a new area and threw out some mud minnows. BAM, almost immediately, I’m hooked up but you know how easy those flounders will come off so I’m holding my breath until I get her all the way to the yak and in my net. She’s 16.5”! I spend the rest of my time trying to upgrade with no luck so it’s off to the weigh in for me.

I ended up placing 5th in the Slam Division. My cousin Alfie, won a kayak in the general raffle and then proceeded to win first place in the Trout Division to win another kayak. Throw in some awesome raffle prizes throughout the family and we are DONE.

Another great Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic in the books! Already talking about next year.