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"Winning a big tournament on fly straight up against conventional tackle has been a dream of mine." "Winning a big tournament on fly straight up against conventional tackle has been a dream of mine." Photos: Aaron Rubel

Aaron Rubel nailed the top speckled trout on the fly at a MBKFA tourney.

Saturday was an exciting day. I participated in the 8th Annual Mobile Bay Kayak Fishing Association 5 Rivers tournament.  Somewhere around 75 anglers came in from as far away as Tennessee, Louisiana, and Florida to participate. I won the speckled trout category with a 23.5" (4.88 lb) fish. I caught the winning fish on a topwater popper fly with a TFO Axiom 6wt fly rod. 

This was the second largest speck ever caught in the eight year history of the tournament. Also, I won it fly fishing against everyone else who was fishing conventional tackle! Winning a big tournament on fly straight up against conventional tackle has been a dream of mine since beginning tournament fishing three years ago. Weather was another factor that made this extra special as we fought 30mph winds in combination with 40F temps to start day.  I won a Hobie Outback for first prize!

Click here to see the official results of the MBKFA Tournament.

Aaron Rubel body 1

(Photo: Brendan Bayard/Kayak Fishing U) 

There was a unique conclusion to the Captain's meeting. There was a Heroes On the Water category for Veterans and their participating partner.  The MBKFA, in honor of the veterans, asked angler Justin Seiffert to sing the national anthem. Justin sang a beautiful rendition to send all the anglers off, reminding us of something far more important than just fishing. A tribute that I hope catches on at other HOW partnered tournaments.

To win, I used an interesting tactic. I have personally found it difficult to simulate 'walking the dog' with a fly.  So, as an alternative I have been using the same topwater finesse technique used for bass popper and gurgler flies, but applying to when fishing for saltwater speckled trout. A finesse technique of twitching a 2" long popper fly with my retrieve hand, two to five times before resting. It was used on Saturday in the tournament that enticed the 23.5" speckled trout. 

I have found that more often than not, fish will hit the fly on the rest. So I let it set for up to as many as five seconds in between twitching patterns. Long flies similar to topwater lures don't necessarily need to be used. The action and sound simulating bait struggling triggers predatory instinct within gamefish that seems to cross over between species. This technique can definitely help the fly fisherman's confidence in going after multiple species all the while using very similar topwater flies. 

Also, there might be those questioning killing a 23.5", 4.88 lb trout. The tournament was a weigh-in format, then the fish were donated to a local charity for feeding those in need a nice seafood dinner.  It's a nice way for anglers to give back to the community.

Aaron Rubel body 2

 

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