El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Who caught what, when, where, and how.

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El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Anna » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:54 am

One of the committee/board members over at the Offshore Fishing Club knew that there have been a few brave kayakers fishing the El' Cheapo for years and thought they could grow that number by offering up a separate division. She fought hard to talk our motorized friends into recognizing the extra effort kayak anglers put in and she finally pushed through. The goal was to get 20 kayaks signed up for a payout for 1st through 5th, but only 13 took them up on the challenge. My fishing partner, Catherine, and I were among the 13 along with Redfish Chaser and a few other forum members. So, no payout for the kayak division; that's ok we all still have a shot at the big boat too!

Catherine and I pre-fished two spots the week before. We got skunked in both. Mmmm, one more spot to try Wednesday before I head out of town. "First Coast Weather Alert Wednesday" well, darn. So our choices were, a) go to one of the spots we got skunked - in the creek, b) go to the spot we didn't get to fish - on the little rocks, or c) go somewhere we'd never been. I had a feeling that the weather alert Wednesday was going to turn the bite back on in spots a). So we took that chance, even though it was very tide dependent and our best chance of catching anything was the first hour after lines in.

So morning of the tournament the following occurs - I had to take a red-eye flight back from Nashville so I am running on 4 hours of crappy sleep, I fall in the garage flat on my azz, I start my truck and the fuel light is on so now I have to stop for gas, my stakeout pole is missing so it must have fallen out during transport, after I unload my gear at the ramp I promptly forget my bed extender is on and trip over it and fall flat on my face. I spill my whole fresh cup of coffee - yes, the ramp was loaded with people and yes it's 35 degrees. So now I am embarrassed, cold, and tired. I tell Catherine this is going to be a great day of fishing because a great day of fishing never starts with everything going just right.

Lines in at 7, 13 minutes later Catherine is hooked up on her rod with the blue crab! Nice sheepshead!! If I can get one in this little window we have, then the rest of the day will be totally chill. We sit in said tide dependent spot for another hour and a half, nothing. They are gone, we caught the last hungry fish coming through. We decided to hit a few more oyster bars in the creeks and see if they've come in with the tide. Nope, fished all the way to slack tide without a sniff. Time to hit the docks with the fiddlers. Fish on! I got a sheep, he was tiny but legal. A couple tournaments ago Redfish Chaser told me to always, always weigh in your fish even if you don't think you'll place. So, in the cooler went the sheep, thinking I will be lucky if this thing weighs 2 pounds.


We headed to weigh in and I am feeling really good about Catherine's fish. I knew that wasn't going to take the big boat, but it's a respectable fish. I was so proud and happy that this brand new kayak angler was weighing in at a tourney dominated by boats, with a nice fish deemed difficult to catch even with a motor. Truly impressive.

We got weighed in and shortly learned we were the only kayaks so far to bring in any fish. Really? Catherine and Me? It was still early though and I was waiting for a few of the guys to show up. Right at the end of the weigh in, Redfish Chaser shows up with his fish, definitely larger than mine but smaller than Catherine's. Weigh in is closed. That's it, just us.

Trina from the JOSFC finds me and tells me the great news, the board has decided to pay out three places for the kayak division even though we didn't make the 20 registrations. Wow! The excitement that the members had when two female anglers showed up to weigh fish they caught from kayaks was just too much!

So we were in the money with Catherine at 1st with 6.6lbs, Redfish Chaser (Craig) in 2nd with 4.4lbs and wait for it, wait for it....my whopper got me in the money at 1.7lbs. That's right folks, always weigh your fish and enter these tournaments because if you put in just a little time they are truly anyone's game! We fished with some awesome anglers in that kayak division and we just happened to find a couple fish.


Here's what we have learned so far about chasing sheepshead in kayak friendly creeks - Cold fronts push them back in the creeks, warmer weather shuts the creek bite down. Look for a deep hole with an oyster bar just before the drop off, fish the bar. We have had the best luck so far with the first two hours of the incoming tide. Blue crab works best on those oyster bars and produces the larger fish. Fiddlers seem to work better on solid structures like pilings and rocks. We both used carolina rigs, but she used a 1/0 mosquito hook and I used a 1/0 circle hook. Most people do not use circle hooks for sheeps, I have tried both the mosquito hooks and circles - don't see much of a difference on the hook up myself - I wouldn't use a hook larger than a 1/0 either way.

There are far more experienced sheepshead chasers, this is just what we've figured out over the past couple months. Wanted to share so more kayak anglers can get out there and chase these fun fish! Next year, I sure hope to see more kayakers signing up for that division!!

Thanks to Local Tails for prizes for the kayak division, a nice gift certificate to shop for some Local Tails swag. I will be sporting mine on the water soon!! Also to all the JOSFC folks for hosting such a great event!

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by islandspeed2001 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:09 pm

Anna, what a great report :cheers: Sorry to hear about your bad start on the day, but looks like you won in the end :thumbleft:
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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Clark » Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:48 pm

Good for ya'll :thumbright: :salute:
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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by MrTopWater » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:57 pm

Congratulations you three. I also fished it with little to show but two toads around the pilings, and one over slot red from the creek. I don't target sheepies much and usually fish the El Cheapo from a boat with a friend. But I also wanted to help Katrina get the numbers to 20. Looking forward to many more fellow anglers giving it a chance.

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Dreads0518 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:57 pm

Excellent report and pics!!!
And Congratulations on your Win!!! :thumbright:
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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Bud » Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:46 pm

Fan-fishintastic. Great report and pics...
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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Anna » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:00 pm

Thanks for all the kind congrats!

Kevin we were looking for you and Rich at weigh in. I thought for sure the two of you were gonna bump me out. We REALLY missed you at the raffle! It was way too quiet and Jeff said we messed up his juju on his tickets, lol.

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by DougyMillCove » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:15 pm

Did somebody say raffle? Hahaha! Congrats to all of you for putting kayaks on their map!

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by weimed » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:20 pm

Great job!

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by KayakMike » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:31 pm

Congrats! You need to call the Outdoors Show next Saturday morning on 1010xl and share that story!
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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by RLend » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:33 pm

Great tournament report complete with early mishaps and a triumphant finish. All that is missing from the usual tournament report is some weather catastrophe but luckily you did not have that to deal with that. Congrats on your success and great report.
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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Redfish Chaser » Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:58 pm

Congrats on your fine finish there Anna, glad you decided to weight that fish in!

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by Anna » Wed Mar 02, 2016 8:54 am

Thanks ya'll!

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Re: El Cheapo - Kayak Report

Post by JohnYaksJax » Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:50 pm

Anna.....Thanks for the GREAT "El Cheapo Tourney" report, and Congrats to Catherine, Craig and you for representing all of us kayakers and for placing "in the money".....Great stuff!!

Nicely written summary of the events of the day, and the pix really helped make your report complete....good job!!! Glad all your "bad luck" happened BEFORE the Tourney and not DURING IT!!
Congrats to all who fished it.....JohnYaksJax

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