For Mark Sepe and Andrew Bostick, the Academy Team of the Year presented by Crocs trophy is within reach, and the added pressure might finally be getting to them.
"I heard the door slam at 3 a.m. this morning and I knew it was Mark," said Bostick.
"I was just so nervous I couldn't sleep," said Sepe. "So I went out and sat in my truck and listened to music." Although he never revealed his music of choice, one team offered a helpful suggestion that sent the surrounding anglers into fits of laughter.
"It was George Michael, 'You Gotta Have Faith!'" they said.
Spinning in circles
Mike Friday's been having a rough week. He was struck by a severe case of vertigo on Monday that sidelined him from pre-fishing with his partner, Danny Latham.
"Yesterday was the first time I'd been on a boat all week," he said at morning launch. "It's better now, but if I look down and to the left I get sick."
He'll have to endure the seas one more day, since he and Latham turned in a 25.91 pound two-day total and will be fishing with the top five on Sunday.
The Redfish Cup's youngest angler, Michael Frenette, just began his freshman year of college at Southeaster Louisiana. Not only is he balancing course work with fishing, he's also joined the Division I football team as a field goal kicker. Although he is redshirting this year, the young athlete still works out with the team and will eventually join them on the field for extra points and field goals. The Frenettes had a disappointing weekend, however; they finished in 38th place and only managed 8.63 pounds over two days. But for Michael Frenette, Monday will be back to the books.
Riding the wave
Ken Chambers and John Merriwether were on the way to their fishing spot when a rogue wave wreaked havoc, tossing their boat into the air and then slamming it back down into the water.
"It almost knocked us out of the boat," said Chambers. "The bow of our boat was totally vertical."
A helicopter carrying an ESPN photographer and cameraman was directly overhead when the wave hit, so all of the drama was caught on tape. Luckily, other than the team's pride, no one was hurt.
Yesterday Jim Franklin made a bold prediction on stage that he and his partner Jim Fornea would bring 14 pounds to the stage on Day Two. Unfortunately, that prediction fell flat and the duo managed 9.95 pounds.
But it wasn't the first time that day that Franklin fell flat. He also managed to fall right out of his boat and into the water.
"He was just walking backwards casting and he walked right off the back of the boat," said Fornea.
The fall left Franklin with a bloody ankle and a bruised ego, but more importantly it also left him without a phone.
"Since January 1, I've lost six phones fishing, and this is number seven," said Franklin from the weigh-in stage before pointing to his wife. "But I saved the SIM card so I still got your number baby!"
It wouldn't be a Redfish Cup tournament without a daily dose of insanity from the Holeman brothers, and on Day Two they did not disappoint. While driving through the channel and simultaneously studying their bottom finder, the brothers ran smack into fellow anglers Alex Suescan and Eric Taylor, who were drifting on their trolling motor. The impact sent Bryan "Bear" Holeman careening into Suescan's boat, where he was luckily caught and stopped from going into the water. It was the end to a tough weekend for the guys, who finished just out of the top five after one of their fishes lost valuable weight yesterday after throwing up a mullet on the way back to the weigh-in site.
Mike Frenette has always said one of his favorite things about fishing Redfish Cup tournaments is that something interesting always happens. This weekend in Pensacola was no exception. Michael had just hooked up on a fish and was about 10 feet from getting it in the boat when all of a sudden a huge shark leaped from the water and completely devoured it.
"It ate everything but its head in one bite," said Frenette.
Luckily the father-son pair was able to take away a nice souvenir from the experience the fish's head landed in the boat and remained there for the rest of the day.