Nick’s Redfish Roundup
This year was the Ninth annual Nick’s Redfish Roundup out of Basin Bayou, Florida at Nick’s Seafood Restaurant. It’s a great tournament for all skill level anglers because unlike most redfish tournaments these days, you can use live or artificial baits. Some say live bait fishing takes the skill out of it but until this year the tournament had been won using artificial baits the last 3 years in a row.
The tournament has gotten bigger every year and this year fielded 75 boats, the highest number of entrants yet. The entry fee is $200 per team and the tournament pays back $10,000 dollars guaranteed. It pays the top 5 spots, a mystery weight, most spots, and smallest two fish weight. I’ve fished the roundup for the last few years with my dad because we can use live bait and that’s all he likes to fish with. We made the decision this year to make a longer run than normal to try to get some bigger fish than what we had been catching locally. We checked in at the official Nick’s check-in boat in front of the restaurant in the Choctawhatchee bay. Check in was 5 to 7 am and we planned to be there right at 5, but low water at the ramp caused us to change launch locations so we didn’t get there until 5:20. At that time we were about the 20th boat in line. The check-ins went fast as they inspected livewells and handed out sponsor bags with boat cards in them.
We got checked in and headed out in the Hell’s Bay Neptune which will run pretty fast so we were able to make up some time. Our plan was to fish the flats early until the tide came in and then we would get back in some ponds and sight fish. The flats were really shallow due to an unusual north wind and cold front the day before, so we changed up our plan and decided to hit some deep holes in the creeks that lead to the ponds we were hoping to fish. The very first hole on the very first cast produced a 7.2 pound stud red that measured right on the line. I couldn’t believe it. After that the next few casts produced over-slot after over-slot. The bite slowed down so we decided to check another hole at the next creek mouth. We bumped a few reds out of it trying to get in there with the shallow water. When I say shallow I mean under 10 inches. The Neptune specs say it drafts 10 inches but I poled across a mud flat to get to our spot that was easily only 6 or 8 inches. For a big skiff it performs flawlessly. We ended up culling through several 4 pound fish but never could get another good tournament fish. Our official weight was 11.66 and got us 7 th place. A couple local guides out of Baytowne marina won it with 14.07 fishing live bait in the choctawhatchee bay. There were several sponsors on hand including CCA and Skeeter Boats. Even Blair Wiggins from Addictive Fishing got in on the action. Dismal Creek entertained the crowd with some awesome bluegrass music and the Nick’s Restaurant put out a low country shrimp boil that hit the spot after a long day of fishing. If you are looking to get into tournament fishing it’s a really fun format for all ages. For more info contact trey nick at nicksseafoodrestaurant.com.