We had come upon the time to face are nemesis tournament of fishing, Navarre. If you remember the article about last year’s tournament, we caught trout, permit, flounder and saw about 100 reds; never caught one. Navarre is the only tournament fishing location we have never weighed in at and our goal was to not goose egg again. Spent the last week studying google earth, Bing maps, tides, wind, moon phase, and any tips posted about catching Reds in Navarre. After all the studying, we picked 3 spots that looked good for how we fish and the tides, rigged 3 different baits and sizes each, and made sure the boat and equipment were ready. We arrived, pay registration dues, and bought into the spots and big trout Calcutta. Not really knowing the area and having trouble catching reds here, we knew we can catch trout.
Take off was at 5:40 AM and we headed for spot number one, upon arriving at spot number 1, there was already another tournament angler pulled up there starting to fish. We kept on moving heading for spot number 2. As we were coming up on spot number 2, I heard Jake counting to 6. 6 was the number of boats around spot number 2. I am now thinking we are up the creek and all the homework was for nothing. Now we were in route to spot number 3, as we were driving to the third spot, saw an open flat that looked enticing and pulled up. We were advised to throw a spoon and a Slayer SSB to be successful in the Navarre Sound, Jake threw the spoon and I threw the SSB. We saw water busting, and little shrimp and minnows jumping. Once we saw that, Jake switched to a Gulp Shrimp and I switched to my go to swimbait. Jake hooked up first cast with Gulp! and reeled in a 15” red. Not the right size, but got the Redfish Skunk out of the boat and gave us a little bit of confidence. I hooked up and caught a 14” red, again it is a red, but not the right ones. Jake throws again and catches a 19” red, getting bigger but only had 2 spots and this is a no cull tournament. We released, and kept moving only to keep catching dinks and rats. We came to the end of the flats and into docks. It is 9AM, and we figured, what the heck lets fish the docks.
We maneuver in and out of docks, Jake is skipping under and I am throwing down the middle and the sides. I start catching red after red but nothing over 3-pounds and nothing with a lot of spots. We came around a dock, it had a broken dock next to it with the middle section missing. Inside that middle section was a school of 8 upper and over slot reds. I threw at them, then got districted by Jake throwing on a different school by the dock we just came around. I felt thump, set the hook, and the drag takes off, it has weight, and is heading for pilings. Set the power pole, click the drag twice and am running around the boat horsing the red to keep him out of the pilings. Land the red and he is 27” on the nose and weighs 6.5-pounds. He went in the live well and we knew at that point we were in great shape and let’s go for weight instead of calcuttas’.
It was 11:30 AM, and we continued working docks heading back towards the landing and weigh in. We continued to catch 3 to 4-pound reds. We were looking for another 5 or 6-pound red to weigh in, but weren’t seeing or catching anymore big ones. The wind was picking up and the trolling motor was dying, so we knew we must decide soon or end up weighing in one fish. Jake hooks up and lands a 4.7-pound red with 4 spots. We made the decision to keep him and head back towards the landing.
We had been told by the locals any red over 6-pounds is a stud for Navarre and 12 pounds usually wins it. The first team weighed in with 11.48 pounds, which we knew was more than us and that is not a good sign the first team to weigh has big weight. Usually, the smaller weighs first to be done and head home. Next team weighed and only had 1 red, then another team weighed in with only 1 red, then another team weighed in with 2 reds at 10.14 pounds. We knew now we would be placing top 3 depending one other sound team that usually catches around 11 pounds. They weighed in at 9.56 pounds, and then we weighed in at 11.18 pounds.
The remainder of the teams goosed egged and we finished 2nd place. We went in just trying to catch 2 reds to weigh, never had the expectations to win anything. It was bitter sweet and showed us, regardless of any plans or what people say, do what your confident with and have fun.