Biloxi/D'Iberville welcomes top redfish anglers


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D'IBERVILLE, Miss.  For centuries, the Mississippi Gulf Coast has attracted native tribes, European explorers, ambitious settlers and proud civilian and military families. With vast natural resources and various man-made diversions, the cities of Biloxi and D'Iberville have prospered despite often-devastating setbacks and challenges including Hurricanes Camille, and most recently, Katrina.

But Oct. 10-12, the residents of southern Mississippi will welcome another unique and diverse group of people  the best redfish anglers in the world as the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup championship visits this weekend.

The top 20 teams in the standings of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Team of the Year presented by Crocs will pull into the D'Iberville Pier for the 2008 Redfish Cup championship. And fishing fans in the Magnolia State should see some of the biggest fish ever weighed at a Redfish Cup event.

"I'd love to win another one, but it's not as much pressure as the last one," Redfish Cup angler John Ochs said following his team's victory in Pensacola on September 28. "Everyone's getting a check and it's like you're already in the top five."

Biloxi, known for its history, tourism and military, includes some 20,000 military and civilian personnel who work at nearby Keesler Air Force Base. Civil War-era Fort Massachusetts still stands guard offshore and there are a variety of modern waterfront casinos, world-class hotels and golf courses covering the area.

On the other side of Biloxi Bay is the city of D'Iberville, which incorporated in 1988.

"D'Iberville is honored to host the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup championship," said Rusty Quave, mayor of D'Iberville. "Having a world-class fishing championship will help us showcase the Mississippi Gulf Coast as a great fishing destination."

And lunker redfish await these anglers, as Mississippi state fishing regulations post an 18- to 30-inch redfish slot limit, two inches longer than all previous Redfish Cup venues.

"Right now, we'll be heading to the Biloxi marsh," said Redfish Cup angler Craig Johnson, who with John Ochs will be competing for the $50,000 top prize.

Even the anglers aren't certain what the two extra inches will mean for fish weights.

"It's different, because we've never targeted a 30-inch fish  I don't even know what they're supposed to weigh," Team of the Year winner Mark Sepe said about the tournament. "It's going to be ridiculous."

To raise the stakes even higher, those Redfish Cup anglers representing Lake & Bay, Mercury and MotorGuide have the chance to tack on an additional $15,000, $25,000 and $2,500 in incentives, respectively, to the $50,000 pay day. The potential to win $92,500 is the highest ever in Redfish Cup history.

Competing teams

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