Just for fun
A few Redfish Cup anglers who didn't make the top five had a chance to redeem themselves on Day Three by fishing the Pro-Am. A lot of fish were caught — but not many of them were actually redfish — as many of the teams hooked tuna, mackerel and even a pufferfish or two.
"The only bites we got were on the turkey sandwich we ate," said one of the amateur anglers, paired with pro Manny Perez.
The eventual winners were Paul Wohlford and Steve Bailey with the Panama City Beach CVB, who fished with Bryan "Bear" Holeman and pulled in 11.48 pounds of redfish.
"The guys were just out there having fun and fishing," said Team Oberto pro angler Ken Chambers, who narrowly missed making the top five with his partner John Merriwether. "But it was nice to get out there and catch some more fish."
House on fire
Three of the top-five teams at the Pensacola event were actually sharing a house during pre-fishing and the tournament, and clearly whatever was in the tap water was working. The teams of Alex Suescan and Eric Taylor, Scott Hughes and Matt Haag, and Mike Friday and Danny Latham all boarded together and also fished the same areas with great success.
"All of those guys are very versatile and we learned a lot from them," said Suescan. "It definitely helped that we stuck with them."
With only the Biloxi championship left, it remains to be seen whether the sextet will be able to make the same magic happen there.
This weekend's Redfish Cup event in Pensacola was noticeably dominated by teams from the southwest Florida coast. It's impossible to pin down exactly what the reason is, but several people were willing to offer a guess.
"The fish there are the most educated in the world," said top-five angler Matt Haag. "If you can catch 'em there, you can catch 'em anywhere."
Even ESPN host Keith Alan was impressed.
"The southwest coast of Florida really shined," he remarked from the stage during the final weigh-in.
Overheard on Day Three
"Our plan is to catch 15 pounds and kick some tail."
— Danny Latham, who only managed one fish for 3.9 pounds with his partner Mike Friday
"I've been seeing double all day, so maybe I saw two and there was only one."
— Mike Friday, in reference to his and Latham's single fish
"I wish it wasn't the top five giant."
— Brandon Buckner in reference to John Ochs, who eventually took the lead away from Buckner and his partner Jeff Pope
"If you're gonna dream, you gotta dream big."
— Danny Latham