by Tony Gaskin
The professional tournament trail is hot!
I am writing this blog with my suitcase open. I say that because I am fresh off the road from being gone for ten days straight and fishing two events on different tours out of Hopedale Louisiana.
The conditions were not favorable. This seems to have become the new “normal” with wind and rain every tournament day. We fished the IFA Redfish Tour event in 35-40 mph sustained winds all day and had to cut our day short by two hours as we fled when the lightning started popping all around us. The water looked like there was a helicopter hovering above our Sportsman boat. Trust me folks, standing on an elevated casting platform on a boat is not where you want to be in a lightning storm unless you have an obsession with Benjamin Franklin. In this case holding a reel and rod would serve the same purpose as a kite and key. I have great admiration for all the anglers that relentlessly compete in adverse conditions. This time Mother Nature threw us an unexpected curve ball. Not only was the weather an interesting component but to say there was no water is an understatement.
Perhaps I should explain for those who are not familiar. I have fished this area for several years, so I have many favorite spots where I know I can get on good redfish. In the land of bayous and backwaters the wind has a great effect on tides and volume of water in these areas. This year the water was lower than I have ever seen, rendering All my ponds and secret holes inaccessible. I feel like we finished respectably considering our limited fishery. And, as an added bonus, we gained some knowledge on locating fish in different areas as well.
In addition, I have a mouth full of crow to chew on regarding “never say never”. The point is that I have said I will never leave after a tournament to travel home. We were up at 3:30 am to launch for the last tournament of the two. We fished hard all day and when done we were facing an eleven-hour drive. The plan was to drive a few hours and then get a room for the night. Before the crow taste was in my mouth good, I already knew the chance of that happening was slim. There was either no vacancy or what was available was not in the budget for my depleted wallet. So, youth took over and my son did the deal.
It was an uncomfortable run and the best I could do was to drift off to sleep a few times only to jerk awake from the bumps and dips on America’s fine roadways. I would ask my son if he was ok as I would like to think that I could take over if he wasn't – probably not. Even with all that, I was happy about the decision when we finally got within five miles of the comfort of home. All this extra effort afforded me a whole day and a half before I had to put what came out of the open suitcase back in and got on the road again. This time it was off to one of my favorite destinations.
Georgetown, SC is special to me since I have many sponsors and countless friends in this storied historic town. Your ears will find Southern charm and fishing stories for as long as you will listen in a town where it feels like time passes by a bit more slowly. It’s the only place I have ever been where each time I come back I am treated as if I never left. Maybe it's a life style that is simply South Carolina.
Along with the southern charm and hospitality is the fact that this is where I started my career as a professional redfish angler. My primary sponsor, Sportsman Boats, is a short distance away in Summerville and I couldn't be prouder to say that I represent this brand of quality boat. Just about anywhere you look on the water there is a Sportsman boat which speaks to the quality of both the people and product. I feel at home here and that is both comforting and a bit agonizing as it presents thoughts of living here with all the charm and friendship of its people.
Well folks, time to zip the ol’ suitcase and get on the road. Thank you all for reading my blog and following my adventures on social media.
Until next time, be safe and see ya on the water.