For us the Boondoggle started in Savannah Ga, at 5:45am. The Friday of the boondoggle opening. Trey Leggett of www.fishmyyak.com and I started loading up the kayaks onto the trailer. We had a 5 hour drive ahead of us and wanted to make sure the kayaks had just as safe of a trip as we planned. Within 30 minutes we were on the road to Boondoggle X at Kars Park in Merritt Island Florida. Both Trey and I had been to the mosquito lagoon area so we knew what was in store for us, which made the trip that, much more exciting. We had done our homework and had a plan of attack on these flats giants upon our arrival.
Once we arrived we were greeted by the boondoggle staff and shown where our home would be for the following 4 days. With the gift bags in hand we headed to find the best camping spot within our area that we could. The grass was freshly cut and the bugs were everywhere but this really was no surprise to many of us. We got everything set up while watching the banana river with small 1 to 2 ft white caps and a steady 15 mph wind. We both wanted to get out on the water but held off for the day to meet some new people. We didn’t really sleep the night before in anticipation so this was probably the safest decision.
The campsite was half filled by Friday night and vendor village was topped off with a good number of kayak vendors and kayak fishing accessories. I immediately headed to meet up with Dinver McClure at the feel free booth to check out what he had in store for us. The booth stood out from a distance with that lime green canopy and the new lure 13.5 sitting dead center of the display.
As the night set in the corn hole competitions and fishing stories started flying farther than you can cast. You could roam the campsite from group to group and everyone was very inviting with either a drink or a good laugh. I started the night wanting to go to bed early so that I could be fresh on the water the following morning but realized that this is the Boondoggle and only happens twice a year. I enjoyed the night socializing and networking with others from all over the United States. Some traveled as far as 1500 miles to be part of this event. As the campfires dimmed well after midnight you could hear people still yelling Boondoggle from across the campground. I knew this was not going to be one of those nights that led into an early morning of fishing.
At 0600 the following morning after socializing well past 3am I loaded up to go fish right behind Kars Park. The weather was perfect but the waters were a little murky from the recent rains. We both knew if we could find the clearer waters we could get into some nice trout and maybe find a school of those big bull reds that breed on the shallow flats through October. After the first hour we had both gotten rid of that horrible smelling skunk with a couple trout but we still kept searching. I stood on the platform of my Moken 12.5 looking for tailing reds in the distance and watching the potholes for trout waiting to attack the big schools of mullet flooding the flats. While poling along the edge of a flat we found where the waters got a little clearer I spooked a single red but turned on the opposite side of me to see a school of monster 40 inch plus reds that were slowly moving away from me. They were very spooky and after my first cast that was perfectly placed 10 ft in front of them we realized this school just wasn’t hungry. Throughout the boondoggle some really nice fish were caught by all skill levels of anglers. Species that we seen brought in were Tarpon, Redfish, Trout, Snook, Jack Crevalle, Mangrove Snapper, Spanish mackerel, and a few others found on the flats and inlets along the Space Coast.
When it was all said and done the sponsors and vendors did a great job in supporting the boondoggle. I personally won nothing in the raffle but some great prizes were to be had like Yeti coolers, Engel coolers, grizzly coolers, a kayak fully rigged and a bunch of yak attack products as well as a few other random odds and ends.
Feelfree Fishing Team Member (Former)