This year I decided to enter my first ever kayak fishing tournament. I fished in the 8th Annual Point Pleasant Beach Elks Kayak Fluke Tournament that was held this past Saturday. The captain’s meeting was held Friday night and fishing started at 5 a.m. on Saturday with check-in between 3-5 p.m.
My original plan was to go to the captain’s meeting Friday night and then go home. I was going to fish Raritan Bay, then go to straight to the check-in. I heard a guy was disqualified last year because he was late to the check-in and I didn't want that to happen to me, so I decided to camp out for the weekend and fish in the Point Pleasant area.
With traffic it took me about an hour to get to the Elks Lodge (which should have been about a 30 minute drive). Once there, I got my captain’s bag, entered four calcuttas, got some dinner and had a few beers. After the festivities died down and the Elks Lodge closed up, the few of us camping out hung out for a while. We smoked cigars, swapped fish stories and decided to be at the launch by 5 a.m.
13.75-inch fluke. (Sean Gavin photo)
I forgot to set my alarm and by the time I woke up, it was 5:06 AM! Crap! I woke Matt up (I was fishing with Matt Trucks and Gary Ward) and we got to the launch at Riverside Park in Point Pleasant about 5:45 a.m. Gary was already there and waiting for us. Sorry Gary. Lol.
We fished the Manasquan River. When we first got on the water, there wasn't much boat traffic. But that was about to change... quick. I was using a buck tail with a Gulp swimming mullet and the teaser was an olive and white teaser I tied tipped with a live killie. I was drifting along the edge of the channel. As I drifted down to the Point Pleasant Canal, the boat traffic was starting to get a little crazy. But I got my first fluke. It was a very small 11 inches.
14-inch fluke. (Sean Gavin photo)
After I caught that fish, the boat traffic increased. In fact, there was a State Police Boat and a Brielle Police boat out and they were giving out tickets like crazy. It got so bad, I got hit with a boat wake that broke on my kayak and me! I thought I was going over for sure. After that, I tried to stay out of the channel, but it didn't matter, there were boats all over the river speeding in the no wake zone.
I wound up catching three more fluke, all shorts. A 13.75 inch and two 14-inch flukes. At about 2:30 p.m., I had had enough of the boats and my back was starting to bother me, so we all decided to call it a day. I was the first one to check in and my little 14.5" fluke, but it was the leader for a little while. Then much bigger fluke were being checked in. Well, it was fun leading while it lasted. Lol.
Saturday night they had a DJ, an all-you-can-eat buffet which included clams on the half shell. I think I ate about four dozen of them. I also bought a beer mug for $20 which came with free refills all night long. Needless to say, the mug paid for itself... a few times. There were raffles with some pretty cool prizes, including an S&S Buck Tails box and an Orion cooler. I won an Orion cooler hat and t-shirt.
My last fluke of the day. At 14.5 inches, that was the leader for a bit. (Sean Gavin photo)
Just like the night before, when the festivities died down and the Elks lodge closed, the campers hung out again. This time there was no getting up early the following morning, so we had a few more beers than the night before. I was up at 6:50 a.m. Sunday morning and on the road by 7:30 a.m.
The Kayak Division of the tournament was run by Matt Trucks and Gary Ward. I would like to thank them both and I would also like to thank the Point Pleasant Elks - BPOE #1698. I am looking forward to next year’s tournament already.