The weather was cold, windy, cloudy, and generally nasty with rain and more wind the week before the tournament. The common feedback we received was there were plenty of big redfish in Palma Sola, but just about all of them had lockjaw. A few were caught and released, but the catch was mostly small reds and very little trout activity was reported. This was not looking too inviting.
We were tracking the weather closely and saw what looked like the handle to the dinner bell. The weather would be nice the day before the tournament, which should get the fish at least thinking about eating, and the day of the tournament would bring negative change in the weather pattern. That should really turn on the bite, and it did.
The anglers met up at Manatees Sport Grill in Bradenton to receive their fishing tokens at 6:00am and headed to the launch area for a 6:30am launch time. The weather was calm and cool, with clouds building all day and rain threatening an early Saturday night bath for all. The wind stayed down for most of the day, allowing anglers to fish with a variety of lures. These included Live Target ‘s new shrimp, MirrOlure “MR17s”, D.O.A. “CALs”, Z-Spooks, and a couple of big reds came unbuttoned on Yo-Zuri inshore series “Sashimi” lures due to operator error. Too bad, because they were both game changers at 35” plus.
Contestants were fishing for two redfish and two trout. Let’s take a look at how they did:
- Robert Brown who caught four fish for 82.2” for a first-place finish.
- William Lusk scored 80.1” for second place with four fish, all on top water. William also landed the tournament’s largest fish, a 30.9” redfish. Great job, William.
- Eric Henson landed third place with four fish and 79.1” on soft plastics.
- Michael Julian scored 76.7” with four fish to take fourth place. Another great job, Michael.
- Jimmy Cook captured fifth place with 75.7”, also with four fish, and turned in the second largest fish - a fat 29.7” redfish.
- Marty Meakin won sixth place with four fish and 74.3”.
- Fred McClendon turned in four fish with a 70” total to place seventh.
- Otis Coblentz scored three fish and 59.9” for eighth place.
- Olin Satterfield hooked ninth place with three fish and 50.6”.
- Mark Murane landed tenth place with three fish and 47.7”
The mighty redfish eluded many of the contestants on Saturday, and that made all the difference. Almost everyone caught nice trout, with the largest measuring 23.2”. Not bad at all. Whenever there are some great anglers mixed with some new-to-the-series anglers on the water, and just about everyone catches fish, we get real happy? We congratulate the anglers, and thank our wonderful sponsors and Manatee’s Sport Grill for making this such a great event. Next up is the Mosquito Lagoon Classic on March 15. We know we will see you there. The Lagoon is known for monster trout and redfish, so this should cook up to be another great Classic.