Triton Texans Prevail at Lake Charles
LAKE CHARLES, La. — “Too many big fish,” lamented several angling teams competing in the first ever Triton Western Division Redfish Nation Q-Series tournament Oct. 16 in the Calcasieu Estuary at Lake Charles, La.
Tim Young of Baytown, Texas, and Allen Parker of Port Arthur, Texas, landed more than 35 big redfish in the tournament, too big actually. They only boated three spot-tails between 16 inches and 27 inches with the rest measuring between 28 and 36 inches. Each competing team could weigh up to two fish in that slot. Young and Parker picked two fat ones that weighed 15.81 pounds to take the historic victory.
The winning duo fished along the southern shoreline of Calcasieu Lake, about 30 miles south of the weigh station in downtown Lake Charles. Massive schools of huge redfish busted shrimp coming out of the surrounding marshes. Diving birds indicated where to find feeding fish as surface waters churned with activity.
“The schools were moving fast, all in the same direction,” Young said. “The trolling motor couldn’t keep up with them. We had to run up to the school on plane and power down within casting range of the fish. We could only make two casts before the school spooked, but we nearly always scored two good hits.”
Young and Parker started with Top Dog topwater baits and spoons, but later switched to Yum Samurai Shad soft plastic minnows. They attached Colorado-bladed spinners to the lead jigheads and worked these baits vigorously, “waking” them just under the surface.
“We caught most of our fish on avocado and red metal flake Samurai Shads with chartreuse tails, but lure placement mattered much more than color or style,” Parker explained. “We were casting to the schooling fish. If we put the lure in the right place, they jumped on it almost immediately. We’d catch our two fish at each stop and then had to run them down again.”
As the first winners of the new qualifying series, Young and Parker earned $5,000 in cash and up to $6,000 in credit toward a new Triton boat powered by a Mercury outboard motor. They also earned the all-important maximum points to jockey for position to compete in the 2005 Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup events.
“In the Q-Series, we have two divisions, East and West,” said David Healy, Redfish Nation vice president. “The top 15 point leaders from each division receive priority placement in the 2005 Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup events. We’ve expanded the field for the tournaments from 100 to 130 for 2005 with the top 100 finishers from 2004 Redfish Cup events automatically entered in 2005 Cup events. Anglers fishing the Q-Series earn points to make those final 30 teams that can compete next year.”
Texas anglers won the top eight places of the 52 teams entered. In second, Steven Auld of Baytown, Texas, and Ralph E. Frazier of Dickinson, Texas, landed two spot-tails weighing 15.38 pounds. Jason Catchings of Liberty, Texas, and James Shirley of LaPorte, Texas, took third with another 15-pound stringer, this one weighing 15.14 pounds.
Brandon Jenewein and Mike Condit, both of Bay City, Texas, landed in fourth place with two redfish weighing 14.86 pounds. Rounding out the top five, Steve Soule of Seabrook, Texas, and Larry Vaughn of Katy, Texas, caught two for 14.85 pounds.
In the same waters during the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup championship tournament two week earlier, only one team landed a 15-pound stringer. Jimmy West of Port Bolivar, Texas, and Tommy Lomonte of Stafford, Texas, emerged from that event as the world champions of salt water with two reds weighing 15.20 pounds.
“Fish were swarming all over the southern end of Calcasieu Lake Saturday morning,” said Capt. Erik Rue, a local charter captain for Calcasieu Charter Service. “We caught plenty of fish, but we couldn’t find enough under 27 inches.”
Television personality “Cajun” Phil Broussard and his son, Kevin, of Lake Charles, La., led the local team. They finished in ninth place with 13 pounds.
The tournament paid cash prizes through 13th place. Two teams tied with 12.58 pounds and split the $500 prize. Will Drost of Lake Charles and Capt. Bobby Stansel, a guide for Hackberry Rod and Gun Club tied with Eric Krysinski and Thomas Keith Mally, both of Houston. Each team earned the full tournament points allotted for 13th place.
Anglers in the Triton Western Division Redfish Nation Q-Series head to Port Lavaca, Texas, on Nov. 20 and conclude at Port Aransas, Texas, on March 5, 2005. In the Eastern Division, anglers compete at Orange Beach, Ala., Oct. 30, Fort Myers, Fla., Feb. 19, 2005 and conclude at Jacksonville, Fla., on March 19, 2005. Teams pay $400 to enter.