Bites before the bite


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PORT ARTHUR, Texas — Some say the state bird of Texas is the mosquito. And if you were of the lucky ones wearing shorts and T-shirts during Day One's launch of the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup in Port Arthur, you'd know the painful reason why.

"If y'all don't watch it, they'll carry you off," tournament director Bob Sealy said loudly to swatting anglers about the beasts, after each boat idled past Sealy's position on the dock.

As the sun crept towards the horizon, swarms of mosquitoes patrolled the airspace inside the Pleasure Island Marina — and each squadron looking for a meal.

"I just like the earlier launch so I can donate more blood," said Redfish Cup angler Al Keller, after splattering a bug on his arm.

While anglers fended off the nasty insects before launch, it appears many in the field may also struggle with catching upper-slot redfish during the day.

"There are a lot of fish here," said angler Mark Sepe, "but there are a lot of small fish here."

Sepe and Bostick, winners of this season's first event in Punta Gorda, are among many teams hoping they can spot the bigger fish while sight-fishing. But for the Texas teams more accustomed to fishing muddier waters, if the fish are there, they'll find them.

With the stark differences in fishing styles between most eastern and western Redfish Cup teams, Day One in Port Arthur could mean a 12- to-13-pound race for half the field.

"This place is a lot different from Punta Gorda," said Redfish pro Travis Holeman. "There are fish everywhere here, right now."

Many anglers will target nearby fisheries like Lake Sabine or Lake Calcasieu and with an earlier morning launch, a steady 12-mph wind and a high sliver of moon overhead throughout the day, don't be surprised to see much heavier bags come 3 p.m.