Port Aransas, TX – 2006

Port Aransas

We headed out of town on Wednesday morning to get a good jump start with two days of pre-fishing.  After watching the Hilton Real-time Navigator for the last 7- 9 days the conditions looked better up north or northeast in the FLW grid.  On the first day of pre-fishing, we focused on some areas that have done well for us in the past and produced mid to high 30lb kings.  For this time of year, a mid to high 30lb king is a nice fish for Port A – it may not win, but it should be a high placing fish.

We fished about 10 spots on the first day starting out 40-50 miles north to northeast and working our way back south.  All that we managed were 10-15 lb kings, which were definitely not what we were looking for.  None of the spots were outstanding as far as action either.  That night we talked about our game plan for pre-fishing on Friday.  We again studied the Hilton Real-time Navigator – the water conditions were looking even better to the north to northeast and the conditions down south still looked bad, as they had all week.  We just about ruled out the southern areas all together.  We were going to live or die by Hilton’s information for this tournament.

On Friday we focused more on getting bait than pre-fishing spots.  We caught about two dozen nice baits and hit a couple of our spots out to the southeast of the Port A jetties until about 1:00 p.m.  Again, the biggest King that we managed was about 12 or 13 lbs.

On the morning of the tournament our minds were made up, we were going to run north to northeast.  After checking out, two of the top boats in the division turned south.  One ran up the ditch and the other made a hard right turn out of the jetties, this put a bad taste in my mouth and I pulled back off of the throttles to think about our decision.  We decided that were going to stick to our game plan and make the run up.

About 30 miles out we hit a shrimper that had a real nice bait slick behind the boat.  We pulled up behind the boat and casted out two ice fish on 12-20 lb All-star rods with Diawa Bait casting reels with 20lb test.  My brother Brent’s bait got nailed and spooled off about 200 yards of line in 90 ft. of water.  Brent wrestled with the fish for about 30 minutes before we saw a 150 lb Bull Shark on the other end.  A bit of pressure on the drag by Brent and he pulled the hook loose for a nice release.  The first shrimp boat was a bust so we hooked up and ran about 10 miles to the next Shrimp boat that was on the way out to our spot.  Again, we casted out two ice fish.  This time my cousin Keith’s bait got nailed and 150-200 yards of line smoked off – the fight was on.  After about 20-30 minute fight on light tackle the big fish started to flash that silver.  You could tell that this was a money fish, but the CUDA struck again.  Released the 35+lb barracuda for strike two at the shrimp boats.

We put the Mercury horsepower to the water and the Fountain was screaming to our spot.  At our spot up near Port O we started out our live bait spread and caught some small kings and big cudas.  Nothing big, so we started to work our way back inshore and towards the Port A jetties through midday.  We weren’t feeling good about our decision on running north and started to second guessing our decision after seeing boats running south at checkout.  After hitting a couple of places further inshore, we came up on the number one boat in points in our division.  Now I knew if these guys were fishing out here, I felt good about our game plan, you get to number one for a reason.

We started out with about an 11 or 12 lb king and through the day and about 10 fish later we upgraded to a 15 lb fish.  Fishing was tough and ounces meant the world if we wanted to qualify for Nationals, so we grinded it out all day to just keep adding a half pound or so to each fish.  I have never fished so hard to add 4 lbs to our bag, but it paid off at the end of the day.  We qualified 18th for Nationals.  This is our first year to fish the FLW and we made the Big Show.  This was our 3rd year of tournament fishing and we have qualified each year for nationals in the Southern Kingfish Association.  Team Notorious has 1 win under our belt and a couple of top 5 finishes.  I think that our team is just waiting for great things to come together for us.  Keep an eye out for us October 26-28, 2006 at Nationals in the FLW Kingfish Series Championships.

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