Triton's Browning & Coble Win Kemah Redfish Cup
KEMAH, TEXAS -- Despite all the weather drama that surrounded the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup tournament, the outcome of the event proved that this is still a game of inches. Make that fractions of inches.
Stephen Browning and Jeff Coble, two former Citgo Bassmaster Classic qualifiers fishing in their first redfish event, won the tournament with a two-fish limit totaling 17.35 pounds. They edged local favorites, Bryan Sandow and Rick Kersey, by more than two pounds. Sandow and Kersey posted 15.00 pounds for second.
Two-time Redfish Cup champions, Bryan and Greg Watts were third with 5.17 pounds. While Peter Young and Stephen Johnston and J.W. Romish and Andy Johnson failed to catch keeper on the final day and finished in fourth and fifth respectively.
Browning and Coble’s margin of victory may have been large, but it actually came down to about an 1/8-inch. The duo boated their keepers on a Luhr Jensen Speed Trap and a Yum Samurai Spin fished around a rock jetty about 25 miles out in Galveston Bay.
“We didn’t have a bite all morning,’’ Coble said. “About noon, I hooked the first fish. When I first saw him I never thought he would be legal, so I didn’t get too excited. I just knew he was too big. I wouldn’t even watch Stephen measure it.’’
In Redfish Cup events in Texas anglers can only weigh in two redfish measuring between 20- and 28-inches. In most events, catching fish that are too big are more of a problem than catching one that is too small. Getting one really close to the 28-inch mark is akin to finding gold.
“When I screamed he said ‘Huh,’” Browning said describing the moment after he realized the fish was legal. “(Coble) couldn’t believe it.
“The fish measured 27 7/8 inches, he was fat and thick. He had to weigh at least 10 pounds.”
Judging by the overall weight that had to be an accurate assessment. Browning and Coble’s two-fish stringer is the heaviest ever weighed in a Redfish Cup event, eclipsing the 15.58 pound mark set last season in Lake Charles, La.
But even with such a fine fish, the team was far from winning the event. They went another hour and 15 minutes before getting another bite, eventually catching their final keeper on the last cast of the day.
“It was literally our last cast,’’ Browning said. “We had 50 minutes left and it took us 45 minutes to run out there. The fish smoked the Samurai Spin right at the boat and headed for the rocks. I had changed to braided line and was able to horse him away from the rocks.
“He made one run to deep water and we followed him to the deep water. When we measured him and he went 26 1/2 inches we yelled and screamed.’’
They screamed so much that “We made Michael Iaconelli look like he was on Valium,’’ Coble said of the hyper-bass angler known for his screaming in Bassmaster events.
“When we got back we had eight minutes to spare,’’ Browning said.
Even that was close. The tournament has been marked by strong winds that have rocked the Galveston Bay creating huge waves that were part of the reasons day two was cancelled. It wasn’t much better in the final slowing the long runs down and making travel tricky. The conditions, though, may have played right into the anglers' hands. Big waves, strong winds and muddy water are something the two anglers are used to.
“We were real fortunate to get on a pattern we like to fish,’’ Browning said. “If we had to pole around like these other guys we probably wouldn’t have done any good.’’