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RodnReel.COM FEATURE ARTICLES

Al RogersFlorida Anglers Net Top Redfish Tour Prize
Category: Fishing - Saltwater - Marsh
Date: 4/9/2002
Written By: Al Rogers - Rodnreel.com

Florida anglers net top Redfish Tour prize

By AL ROGERS
Rodnreel.com


LAFITTE –Eric Mannino and Paul Jueckstock knew that Saturday’s Redfish Tour here would be a challenge. They knew that with 20-knot winds in the forecast, the waters across the vast Barataria Bay estuary would become choppy and severely stained. But the two flats guides from Edgewater, Fla. relied on skill, preparation, and patience to bring a 17.52-pound stringer to the weigh-in scales, which netted them nearly $11,000 in cash.

In addition to having the heaviest aggregate weight, the team also clinched honors across the board, including the largest redfish, which brought them an extra $910, and they picked up $1,500 in the tournament Calcutta. They won another $1,500 for winning the tournament in a Ranger boat, which co-sponsored the tournament with Mercury. In the field of 97 boats were some of the best professional and amateur anglers in the southeastern United States. With the Lafitte win, Mannino and Jueckstock also garnered 100 points, and appear to be on their way to the Redfish Tour National Championships in Punta Gorda, Fla., Nov. 14-16, 2002.

Mannino and Jueckstock increased their cumulative Redfish Tour winnings to more than $100,000 in cash and prizes.

Clinching second place for the home team and a purse of $3,490 was Alden Bourgeois, of Lafitte, and Todd DuFour, of New Orleans. Bourgeois, who is a guide with Capt. Phil Robichaux Saltwater Guide Service, and DuFour, brought a 16.55-pound stringer to the scales.

The key to the win for Mannino and Jueckstock was a 9.87-pound anchor fish that they boated in a marsh area about eight miles to the east of Grand Isle.

“We knew it was gong to be tough,” Mannino said. “We didn’t know how tough.”

After scouting and pre-fishing a vast area from Venice to Grand Isle to Lafitte, they felt that this was where they had the best chances to find fish. But because of unstable weather patterns that persisted last week, they had to catch their fish early. Mannino knew they would need at least 16 pounds to get into the top five finishers.

When they arrived at their target area, they found a single marsh bank that held baitfish. On one particular bank, they found an area of clean water that extended about eight feet off of the bank. This was vital because they were sightfishing the redfish. Then, at 7:15 a.m., Jueckstock spotted a small school of tailing reds and baitfish. After pointing out the reds, Mannino flipped a Namire Red Ripper, a rattling, weedless spoon. Immediately, one of the fish inhaled the spoon, and Mannino set the hook. After a five-minute battle, they brought in what they felt would be a contender. According to Redfish Tour rules, each team is eligible to enter two redfish between the 18- to 27-inch Florida limit.

“I knew it was a good fish,” he said. “The first time we measured her, she went just over the 27-inch limit,” he said. “But after she settled down a bit we measured her again – and she fit right in.”

Fishing was tough. During the first Redfish Tour in Lafitte in September, some anglers reported catching as many as 100 redfish a day. However, Saturday’s stop in Lafitte was a different story. Tournament director Grady Warren said the best teams boated between 35 and 40 reds. The day was especially tough for Mannino, who caught only one redfish on the day. However, it happened to be the 9.87-pound fish that would ultimately win the title and set a Lafitte tournament record.

Not long after Mannino’s big red was placed into the live well, he saw another school working of the bank and tossed his spoon at the disturbance in the water. The redfish struck at the bait, but spit it quickly. Jueckstock followed up behind him and a big red crashed his favorite topwater plug - a white Zarra Spook. After a brief battle, the team carefully placed a 7.65-pound red into the live well.

Although they had more than 17 pounds of fish in the well, Mannino and Jueckstock hit a couple of more areas before heading back to the weigh-in at the C-Way Marina in Lafitte.

Scouting, Mannino said, was the key.

“We ran all the way to Venice on Thursday, but it was cold. The water looked like chocolate milk,” he said. “Tuesday and Wednesday we fished in that area south of Lafitte. By 10:30 (a.m.) it was all over.”

This was the third Redfish Tour event for Mannino and Jueckstock. Last year the team, sponsored by Ranger, placed 10th in Venice and 19th in Lafitte

The third place team of Howie Blitstein and Jeff Dry, of Jacksonville, Fla. (16.52 pounds), won $2,028. The fourth place team of Warren Girle and Jules Rauch (16.37 pounds), of Longboat Key, Fla., took home $1,555. In fifth place, Stephen Madere and Andrew Lewis (16.37), of Lutcher, won $1,254. 

The other winners were:

- (Sixth) J.W. Romish and Bob Tsacrios, of Homosassa, Fla. (16.16 pounds).
- (Seventh) Artie Price Jr. and Artie Price Sr., of Tarpon Springs, Fla. (15.93 pounds)
- (Eighth) Kevin Aderhold and Jimmy Fisackerly, of Port Sulphur, La. (15.67 pounds)
- (Ninth) Bryan Watts and Greg Watts, of Tampa, Fla. (15.65 pounds)
- (Tenth) Ron Hueston and Chris Hueston, of Miami, Fla. (15.63 pounds)

Meanwhile, Redfish Tour organizers are calling the second stop in Lafitte a huge success.

“Because of the weather the fishing was a little tougher than it was in September,” Warren said. “But this is an amazing fishery. We had 22 traveling teams from Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida and Texas. Everyone is raving about it.”

Officials said 86 paid teams competed, as well as 11 sponsors, for a total field of 97 boats.

“The people in Louisiana are probably the nicest and friendliest that we’ve encountered on the tour,” Warren added. “We’ve been very impressed.”

Warren credited the help of the Aquarium of the Americas, who returned every fish caught to the water unscathed.

“John Hewitt, the director, said that this was the first event of this kind that he has seen, when no fish died – None,” Warren said.

While some guides ran 200 miles in their boats to fishing areas, the vast majority of the fish at the weigh-in were caught within 10 miles of the marina.

“Back in September, some of the teams were catching 100 redfish a day,” he said. “The most that I heard of was 40 this time. I think five-to-10 fish was the norm.”

Other finishers were:

11th – Michael McElveen and Lane Foil – 15.27 pounds
12th – Randy Danos and Steve DuFrene – 15.08 pounds
13th – Ray Rebstock and Danny Duet – 14.95 pounds
14th – Andre’ Boudreaux and Ernie Burch – 14.88 pounds
15th – Chad Dufrene and Andy Eymard – 14.20 pounds
16th – Pete Chessher and Micah Matherne – 14.06 pounds
17th – Rick Murphy and Jason Ramsey – 13.99 pounds
18th - Scott Johnson and Jeff Chambliss – 13.93 pounds
19th – Eric Taylor and Travis Tanner – 13.75 pounds
20th – Joey Reis and Mike Reichart – 13.60 pounds
21st – Stephen Sierra and Scott Benoit – 13.59 pounds
22nd – Larry Fowler and Eddie Legge – 13.26 pounds
23rd – Tony Ortega and Ron Creber – 13.08 pounds
24th – Anthony Randazzo and Anthony Randazzo III – 12.92 pounds
25th – Anthony Toups and Raymond Toups – 12.65 pounds
26th - Bill Butler and Joby Davis – 12.06 pounds
27th – Dennis Mahaffey and Ricky Collins – 12.05 pounds
28th – Mike McGovern and Ricky Kieffer – 11.94 pounds
29th – Keith Bird and Bryant Bird – 11.87 pounds
30th – Jim Romeka and Kenny Driggers – 11.85 pounds
31st – Adam Albarado and Rebecca Albarado – 11.62 pounds
32nd – Ralph Hermann and Dan Healy – 11.61 pounds
33rd – Michael Muscat and Jeffery Muscat – 11.49 pounds
34th – Nash Roberts IV and Brad Schmidt – 11.45 pounds
35th – Gary Hauptmann and Ralph Catoire – 11.42 pounds
36th – Greg Corona and Richard Ziegler – 11.37 pounds
37th – Jay Bunch and Tony Barousse – 11.29 pounds
38th – Terry LaCoss and Terry LaCoss II – 11.24 pounds
39th – Peter Young and Harold Stalcup – 11.05 pounds
40th – L.A. Landry and Scott Graham – 10.93 pounds
41st – Clay Bratton and Michael Karam – 10.88 pounds
42nd – Robert Abruscato and Michael Tindal – 10.58 pounds
43rd – T-Man Cheramie and Penny Cheramie – 10.23 pounds
44th – Bob Gourges and Rene Granier – 10.22 pounds
45th – Greg DeVault and Michelle DeVault – 9.98 pounds 
46th – Brig Booth and Jody Morris – 9.62 pounds
47th – Bob Morris and Jamie Havard – 9.46 pounds
48th – Paul Coward and Randy Reynolds – 9.24 pounds
49th – Joe Bush and E.J. Plaisance – 9.04 pounds
50th – Craig Cowdell and Fred Guedry – 8.92 pounds
51st – John Hoffman and Terry Hoffman – 8.52 pounds
52nd – Kevin Nelson and Greg Stahal – 8.36 pounds
53rd – Parker Rogers and Frank Nodier – 7.99 pounds
54th – Troy Robichaux and Thad Robichaux – 7.69 pounds
55th – LeRoy Bulmer and David Bulmer – 7.56 pounds
56th – Tim Haller and Vincent Pisciotta – 7.55 pounds
57th – Jack Payne and Robert Wirstrom – 7.27 pounds
58th – Mike Frenette and Darron Angelo – 7.21 pounds
59th – Nathan Stuart and Frank Walton – 7.01 pounds
60th – Eddie Callais and Trent Brady – 6.98 pounds
61st – T-Kip Plaisance and Ed Williams – 6.64 pounds
62nd – Craig Degruise and Allen Coulon – 6.61 pounds
63rd – Chad Breland and John Stubbs – 6.51 pounds
64th – C.A. Richardson and Scott Fair – 6.03 pounds
65th – Brent Ballay and Brandon Ballay – 5.73 pounds
66th – Michael Guidry and Chad Guilbeau – 5.46 pounds
67th – Pascal Townsend and John Baily – 4.97 pounds
68th – Kevin Griffith and Tab Smith – 4.29 pounds
69th – Michael Fazende and Kim Fazende – 4.29 pounds
70th – Peter Palisi and Tim Hymel – 4.25 pounds

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