Tony Lai's impressive winning stringer!


It was the rawest game of tug of war. Every flick of the tail of the estimated 25 inch redfish gave him a few more inches of freedom while my rod was bowed and my drag was tight; no one was really winning at that moment. It was a stalemate for a good five seconds, both parties holding their own. Finally I was able to retrieve a few cranks, only to be countered by a deep run for the back of the mangroves, rod tip in the water to prevent breakoff. Standing in the Hobie Revo, stick it anchored up, 15mph wind blowing, the heart was racing. Finally the mighty redfish on light tackle went into emergency mode gator rolls, which happened to be the key to his freedom, popping the hook and letting him loose. Tragedy!

The trout bite however in the 2016 DOA Tournament was pleasing. My first 6 throws produced 4 fish, all either under slot or just at slot. Not worrying about measuring them, the last one at the dock seemed to be good enough to get on the board at 16.5″, at least I had an early start. The next four spots products bigger trout in consecutive order, next at 18 inches, then 19, and finally 20. Kind of crazy! At the rate I was going I figured I could at LEAST get a 30″ mogan, however it didn’t pan out that way. Combined with about six small snook and other “junk” fish it turned out to be a decent fishing day. If that nice redfish I mentioned about hadn’t come unbuttoned, it would have been good enough for a third place finish! That’s how tournament fishing goes.

As mentioned above, my trout only kept getting consecutively bigger.

Pictured left to right: Thad Day (3rd), Brian Nelli (2nd), Tony Lai (1st)


Kudos to the top three fishermen for the day as follows:
1st Place: Tony Lai, scoring a beatuful slam with an impressive 81″
2nd Place: Brian Nelli, scoring another hard to get slam on tourney day
3rd Place: Thad Day, scoring a trout and redfish

​The DOA Lures Paddler’s Tournament is held in Stuart at the River Palm Cottages. More information is at


Mark is a competitive kayak tournament fisherman and loves sharing what he’s learned about kayak fishing. To reach him, feel free to e-mail him on his contact page.

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