I knew Saturday was going to come early. This weekend was my son's birthday and we wanted to do it up right so we went to his favorite restaurant and then to see the new Hobbit movie. The movie got out and we arrived home Friday night at 11PM. I had a 3AM wake up call to get loaded and down to Austin by 5AM. Unfortunately at 1:30 alarms started going off and it wasn't my clock. It was my back. I had a burning, searing pain between my shoulder blades. I couldn't turn my head and I had to roll carefully to get up out of bed. This was not good. I had Robert Field down from Dallas, already set up in Austin and I couldn't let him down. I gulped some Aleve and Tylenol and closed my eyes for a few minutes. The alarm went off again, this time an actual clock, and I got out of bed in more pain than previously.
I ran through my mind whether or not to keep stretching and hope the medicine would kick in or call Robert and admit defeat. After 35 minutes of agonizing physically and mentally I decided to load up, fight through it and go. It was for charity after all.
I sent the red bearded Aggie a text saying I was about 30 minutes behind schedule and he said no problem.
We checked in, chatted for a minute and headed to the launch spot. I took forever to get unloaded and the sun was starting to peek out before we launched. Thankfully Robert has a lot of gear to set up as well.
The weatherman predicted gusts up to 30 mph and cold. As we launched we chatted about the cold part being right but the wind seemed to be a non-factor so far. I know better than to say that out loud.
We headed for a well known creek and started tossing baits. I adjusted and fussed at my seat and my back for over an hour. I also got a face full of water and some water down the front of my waders when trying to get out for a shore break. Cold and miserable I battled on for another hour. With little to show for it and a boat parade already formed we decided to move. As we rounded the corner at the mouth of the creek the wind proved the weatherman right again. We paddled for what seemed like six years against the wind to go try some deeper water. We wasted an hour before regrouping.
At this point I was biting my lip from the pain. The medicines I had taken seven hours previous were useless. We decided to grind out the rest of the tourney in the creek, out of the wind. As we ventured back into the mouth we saw we weren't the only ones with that plan.
The plan paid off pretty well. We landed five keeper fish in the creek that measured for the tournament. The Hag's Tornado F4 in Purple Haze was my go to. I used my Smith Optics Tenet Glasses to sight cast all of the fish I caught, including the keepers. The five were good enough for 5th Place which was pretty cool. What I didn't count on though was the other fish I caught. I thought at the time it was a big bluegill. It turns out it was a redear. It wasn't the state record I thought it was (and subsequently made myself look like a fool) but it was big enough to qualify for a big fish award from Texas Parks and Wildlife. I'll send off the paperwork this week to get it documented. The redear measured 13.5" long. It was released unharmed and feisty!
The after party at Joe's Crab Shack was festive and merry as always. Boxes of toys for Toys for Tots overflowed and the Lone Star beer did as well. (I can't have it because of my celiac but many others enjoyed it.) A lot of good happened but at the weigh in I was spent. I probably seemed like a scrooge and a bit aloof but I felt like Freddy Krueger had julienned my back. Paddling against that heavy wind twice, meds not working and being cold all day meant for a Grumpy Cat looking Chris at weigh in. Sorry fellas. I feel awful I wasn't more talkative but I was done.
I'll get the full recap with some video from Robert up in a few days but until then, check out the only smiling pics of me known to exist from Saturday.