Four out of the five redfish teams arrived at the docks with minutes to spare for the check in of the final day of the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup All Star event.
Jody Morris and Manny Perez, though, came in eight minutes late. And as they all waited for the last team to reach the weigh-in, a vicious game of poker was being played.
Jim Franklin turned to Tim Young in the boat next to him, trying to root out a reaction. "Hey man," Franklin said, smiling, "you sure do look nervous."
Young maintained his steady gaze up stage, acknowledged Franklin's comment with a shoulder shrug, and simply nodded. Young and Catchings zeroed out, bluffed the crowd with the first two empty bags and ended up in fifth place for the tournament.
For Anthony Randazzo and Billy Wallbaum it was a good day to try everything. So they did.
Fishing completely unfamiliar waters, the team struggled on Day Three before finally capturing a worthy second fish at 1:30 p.m., only an hour before they would have to check in.
"We went through our entire tackle box out there today," Wallbaum said, "it was tough fishing around here."
But the team's 5.59 pound bag was good enough and the team finished the tournament in second place.
"Basically, we just pre-fished today." Tim Young, on fishing new waters.
"We went to where we found fish two weeks ago, got there, and found no fish today." Manny Perez
"I'm very scared right now." Shane Pescay, answering how he felt while waiting for Jim Franklin and Brian Fornea to weigh-in.
When you only know how to do it one way, you do it that way. So thought Charlie Thomason as he and his partner Shane Pescay fished the lazy docks, channels and canals often within sight of Lulu's at Homeport Marina.
In fact, the team fished so close at times, they waved to diners on Lulu's waterside patios in between their casts. Climbing from second place on Day Two, the team brought a 6.98 bag to claim the tournament belts.
Size always matters
Size is always relative at Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup events. After Days One and Two, no one expected such low weights on the tournament's final day. But few could have predicted there would be a small craft advisory out, either.
Before Thomason and Pescay weighed in their fish, many in the crowd wondered if Randazzo and Wallbaum's 5.59 pound stringer would set a new low weight to win a tournament.
When Jody Morris and Manny Perez finally did reach Lulu's, they looked like they had been running hard to make it back on time.
It didn't matter though, since the team would eventually reveal two empty bags on the scales. But at the time, it was a good show. Perez lightened the mood of the tense dockside situation.
Once the team came within earshot, he shouted at Tournament Director, Bob Sealy, "We were the second flight, right?"