Tournament Report – TJM Charity Kayak Tournament
After being postponed a day due to high chances of hail and thunderstorms, anglers took to the water at 6:00 am on Sunday, July 30, for the 9th annual Hook, Line and Paddle TJM charity fishing tournament. Kayak and SUP anglers converged in Wilmington to fish, win great prizes, and help out the New Hanover Humane Society.
Chris Hanson, an avid tournament boat angler but new to the kayak fishing scene, took home the top prize with an inshore slam of a combined 69”. His winning trio of fish consisted of a 19” trout, a 19” flounder, and a 31” red drum.
Hanson’s plan from as he approached the tournament weekend was to take home the overall title, rather than just target one of the three inshore species. He first started off throwing Zara Spooks behind Masonboro Island, knowing a falling tide in the early morning hours meant for a decent topwater bite. After catching four trout (the largest 18”), he felt it was time to move on to red drum. Hanson then netted some bait and moved into deeper channels to target redfish.
“I was fishing a Carolina rig with a live mullet,” recalled Hanson, “when I hooked into my first fish after the change of location. I thought it was a small drum, but it turned out to be another trout that beat out my last one by an inch.”
After the trout upgrade, Hanson kept targeting drum, and he managed to hook a few mid-slot fish before landing the 31” fish that would be his biggest of the day. Knowing that the 31” inch fish would be a solid competitor in the tournament, Hanson started his paddle back to his truck to move locations to target flounder.
“I am new to kayak fishing, and this was my first tournament,” explained Hanson. “I quickly started to paddle after releasing the redfish and knocked a $300 rod and reel into the water. I knew it was lost, and I knew that I couldn’t waste any time and had to get on the road to get to Carolina Beach.”
Hanson loaded up his kayak, a vessel he primarily uses for duck hunting, and headed out to the Carolina Beach State Park to target flatfish. There he fished another Carolina rig with a live mullet and managed to boat a 19” flounder, the fish that secured his tournament win.
Hanson won a Native Slayer Propel, along with a plethora of other goodies. Hanson stated, “I was really excited about the new kayak. I took it out that night for a test run. It’s a game changer, and I am looking forward to the next tournament.”
Other first place winners of the TJM Charity Tournament included Joseph Komyati with a 32.25” first place redfish, Keith Williams with a 19.88” first place flounder, and Matt King with a 22.75” first place trout. All first place winners received varying kayaks and other prizes.
More information on the Hook, Line, & Paddle TJM can be found at www.hooklineandpaddle.com.