My good friend Danny Cabo and I loaded our gear up non-chalantly around 9am on the day of the captain’s meeting for the Jacksonville Classic. We had roughly a four hour drive ahead of us and we were pretty much going on a whim, packing things in the truck as we thought of them instead of having it all out the day/night before like usual.
After getting in the Jacksonville area, Danny wanted to show me the area we were going to be fishing so another 30 minute drive and we arrived at our spot. Instead of taking our time and enjoying the sights, a cold and brisk 20 mph sideways rain greeted us as we got out of the 4Runner – within a minute or two we were quickly back in the vehicle, turning on the heat and heading back into town to get to the captain’s meeting.
I have been in a decent share of tournaments but this was my first Jacksonville gig, and it truly showed how the sport of kayak fishing is as big as ever when walking through the entrance. Kayak anglers truly love their sport and the comradery between the competitors is bar none. I saw some good friends that I had only known for a short while from previous tournaments but it was like we were just talking the other day, although it had been a few months. The organizers did a great job with the captain’s meeting and the awards banquet, starting off with hula dancers and a fire show, followed by numerous great prizes and an always epic game of paper-rock-scissors by Woody Callaway for a new Native kayak.
Stepping back a few hours, we brought with us a few sleeping bags just in case we found a decent spot to crash since we would be waking up in only a few hours and not really worth getting a hotel room. Instead of a tent with the non-stop rain and wind we had a comfortable sleep in the back of the 4Runner, with a pair of battery fans to keep it cozy and cool. Simply put, it was awesome.
After searching a few creeks I saw a nice size red curl on my artificial lure, then followed it with a cast of a mud minnow, pulling up a barely legal trout. This one, little six foot hole produced more fish than the entire area the whole day with 3 or 4 croakers, a jack, and eventually a few other small trout. Bummed and cold, at about 1pm we headed back in to dry our bones and get some grub. We tried our best.
Since I don’t have any pictures to post as they are somewhere on the bottom of a river, thanks to Danny Cabo for providing this post’s shots!