Photograph by: Marty Smith
Angler: Aaron Rubel
An unusual award for an unlikely species. Recently, I participated in a couple tournaments that benefited great causes. In early November, the Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association held its' annual fall tournament to raise funds and awareness for Heroes on the Water. Following that up, I fished in the inaugural Kingfisher Classic. The tournament's goal was to raise awareness for the great work the Weeks Bay Foundation is doing to preserve and expand natural habitat as well as contribute toward educational and volunteer opportunities along the bay coastline.
70 competitors signed up to compete for a $500 first place prize in five categories which included redfish, speckled trout, flounder, bass, and bream. When I heard about the tournament, I was shocked and excited that $500 would be offered to the winner of a bream category. There was only one problem. The engine block in my kayak car had cracked days before and was in the shop being replaced. That meant, I had no plan to transport my Hobie Pro Angler 12 to the water. That is, until my wife generously volunteered her mini-van. So, out came the seats and in went the kayak!
The rules stated that waters were limited to tributaries of Mobile Bay, which heightened the competitiveness of the bass and bream categories. The salinity of Mobile Bay tends to challenge growth rates of area bass and bream. However, I had been catching some relatively nice bream in previous weeks on the fly.
Low tide and peak feeding window that morning surprised me. The fish fed better at low tide than when current was moving, and their location were predictably centered in river.
Fortunately, the cloudy day made for some great bream fishing and I was fortunate to place second in the category. I was the only kayaker and fly angler among the 70 anglers in the tournament. That was probably the most rewarding feeling of placing high in standings.
All fifteen bream caught during the tournament were on a black, chartreuse, and red Lost Angler Stealth Bomber fly. I had tried various other color combinations of different fly patterns, but on this day they were turned on to the darker colors.
Pictured from left to right: Aaron Rubel receiving 2nd place award, Jeff Dute (Mobile Bay Press Register Outdoor Writer), and Ben Raines (Executive Director of Weeks Bay Foundation)
Official results of all categories in the Kingfisher Classic:
1st place: M. Wilson, 6.16 lbs
2nd place: O. Harrison, 5.23 lbs
1st place: J. Mann, 6.99 lbs
2nd place: K. Olmstead, 5.95 lbs
1st place: O. Harrison, 2.68 lbs
2nd place: M. Foster, 2.02 lbs
1st place: W. Miller, 1.17 lbs
2nd place: A. Dobson, 1.12 lbs
1st place: T. Nelson, .39 lbs
2nd place: A. Rubel, .32 lbs
Our pursuits of catching that trophy fish are focused out on the water. Yet, those dreams would not be possible without healthy habitat within and surrounding the fishery.
This weekend began with an evening of fly fishing in the yak along the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. Then, thoughts turned inland to participate with my family and Cub Scout pack in the 26th annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup.
Spending a few hours removing debris from the marsh not only benefits the watershed, but also plants seed in young lives that sprouts excitement to care for the environment God blessed us with.