YOUNG AND CATCHINGS TAKE REDFISH CUP TITLE IN PORT ARTHUR
Triton's Tim Young and Jason Catchings brought two redfish weighing 15.84 pounds to the scales Sunday to capture the final event in the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup Western Division in Port Arthur. With bonus sponsor money, the victory was worth $70,000 to the two veteran Texas coastal fishing guides.
The father/son team of Keith and John Hartsell finished second with 13.06, and they were followed by brothers Charlie and Jack Barton with 11.77; David Christian and Charlie Paranoski with 7.73; and Robert Scherer and Blaien Friermood with 4.25 pounds.
“We felt confident all week,” said Catchings, “because our area actually seemed to replenish itself and get better each day. We probably caught 150 fish today.”
That’s in sharp contrast to the other four teams fishing today’s final round, all of whom reported much slower action. Yesterday’s leaders, Robert Scherer and Blaien Friermood, brought only one fish weighing 4.25 pounds to the scales Sunday, and Christian and Paranoski had only five bites all day, none coming after about 10 a.m.
Water and weather conditions may have played a part, especially in Sabine Lake and the areas to the south. With calm water, less tidal movement, and hot, bright skies, anglers could not depend on jumping baitfish or diving birds to help them find fish.
Young and Catchings concentrated on small lakes in the Louisiana marshes approximately 25 miles from the Pleasure Point Marina launch site. There, in water less than three feet deep, they generally found all the redfish they could handle; Catchings’ third cast produced an eight pound red and it only got better from there.
“I was actually pretty nervous at first,” he laughed, “because we were catching a lot of fish over the slot limit. It’s a nice problem to have, but not in a Redfish Cup event.”
The two anglers used Johnson and Hopkins spoons to catch most of their fish, matched with 30-pound Suffix braided line with a 50-pound fluorocarbon leader. Catchings also used a Texas-rigged Stanley Wedge Tail plastic shrimp with a 1/16-ounce slip sinker.
Many of their fish were actually sunning themselves in the marsh grass, explained Young, and all they had to do was drop a lure in front of the fish and it would usually hit. After getting their two best fish into the live well, Catchings and Young returned to the dock about 11:30 a.m.
They fished the same pond all week. During practice Catchings explored the marsh ponds while Young looked for redfish down the coast closer to Galveston. Both are long-time guides near Houston and are familiar with the Port Arthur area.
“We were concerned other anglers coming into the ponds would muddy the water, but that didn’t happen. Overall, it simply could not have worked out better.”
“Jason and I actually had a contest in practice to determine whose fish we’d go to, mine in the Galveston bays or his in the Louisiana marsh,” concluded Catchings, “and when he reported seeing such huge numbers of reds, there really wasn’t any question about where we’d fish this week.
“The fact we were in such protected water with very few other anglers around probably kept us from experiencing some of the problems the other teams did.”