Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the IFA Redfish Tournament in Georgetown SC. This is my 4th year competing in the area and I have found the afternoon waters across Winyah Bay to be a combination of shallows and rough chop usually accompanied by occasional rains during a tournament. Fortunately, this year the good Lord kept the rains away and kept us dry. We fished the area for 2 days prior to the tournament to try new locations that were previously unattainable due to boat size and were able to locate a couple of promising spots around structure.
This year, the introduction of COVID-19 protective measures meant we would not be congregating as a group for the Captains Meeting. This meant we would not get to enjoy the usual chicken bog prepared by the Georgetown community while doing our best to mislead our competitors with our talk of the fish we caught or didn't catch. The camaraderie we experience and the new friends we make each year make this one of my favorite places to compete. Not to mention the launching facilities are second to none with six ramps to accommodate the large volume of boats being launched. Tournament day did not disappoint, with more than 50 teams expected to start at 6 a.m. We drew number 14 for a starting position meaning we would have to return to the weigh-in by 3 p.m. With the larger boat and additional horsepower this year we found the starting run to be much more comfortable as we raced to our fishing spots without having to fight the wakes of other boats. Unfortunately, with the timing of the tide, we found the bite difficult in the early morning and were unable to catch the redfish we were looking for. A series of moves when we probably should have stayed where we knew the fish were would bring our day to an end with no redfish in the livewell. There's something to be said for patience, but anyone who has fished tournaments knows how difficult that can be when the fish aren't biting.
Our next tournament for the Atlantic coast will be closer to home as we meet in August in Beaufort SC. Hopefully this will give us a bit of a home shore advantage as we begin our search for favored fishing spots over the next two months. I hope to see you on the water as we work to improve our odds and experience a new IFA stop.