Published June 4, 2007
PORT ARKANSAS, Texas: Tadd VanDemark, of Key Largo, Fla., and Kevin Shaw, of Corpus Christi, Texas, caught a six-redfish total weighing 48 pounds, 1 ounce to win a wire-to-wire victory at the Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Western Division event in Port Aransas presented by Evinrude. The top prize of $50,000 included a $12,500 Ranger bonus and a $12,500 Evinrude bonus.
Fishing a 22-foot Ranger bay boat with a 250-hp Evinrude E-Tec engine, the winners topped the first two days of competition. They reached the final round with a four-redfish total weighing 30 pounds, 13 ounces and sealed the deal with a 17-pound, 4-ounce effort Saturday.
‘It’s absolutely incredible,’ VanDemark said. ‘We felt like we could (win), but we weren’t going to be overconfident,’ VanDemark said. ‘We just concentrated on doing our job. In this kind of tournament you can make no mistakes and we didn’t make any mistakes. We made all the right choices.’
VanDemark said his team’s key decision was to leave the fish biting on day two and preserve plenty of action for a strong finish. The winners fished about 50 miles south of Port Aransas in the Lower Laguna Madre and caught their fish in 3-6 feet of water over the remains of an old railroad trestle.
‘We decided (yesterday) that all we needed to do was to make the top five,’ he said. ‘We knew that if we could get to the top five today, we could do well. We knew the big fish were there, but we didn’t pick on them yesterday.’
The top anglers threw 1/4-ounce weedless gold spoons and 1/4-ounce DOA C.A.L. jig heads with silver mullet, Arkansas shad, and avocado tails dipped in Carolina Lunker Sauce fish attractant. They caught about 12 redfish Saturday, with their heaviest two coming at 8:15 and 10:30 a.m. VanDemark said they released a fish that weighed over eight pounds.
‘We were burning the baits, reeling just as fast as we could,’ VanDemark said. ‘We were sight-fishing these fish. Even in six feet of water, they would hump up at the surface. When we’d see this, we’d burn the baits through them.’
Rounding out the top five teams are Chief Tauzin and Clark Jordan, both of Pearland, Texas (six redfish, 44 pounds, $6,746); Travis Holeman and Peter Young, both of Luling, La. (six redfish, 42 pounds, 14 ounces, $3,036 plus $1,000 Evinrude bonus); Danny Adams and Scott Isbell, both of Rockport, Texas (six redfish, 42 pounds, 14 ounces, $2,698, plus $1,000 Ranger bonus and $1,000 Yamaha bonus); and Blake Pizzolato, of Montgomery, Texas, and Dwayne Eschete, of Mandeville, La. (six redfish, 37 pounds, 7 ounces, $2,358 plus $1,000 Ranger bonus and $1,000 Yamaha bonus).
Teams caught 10 redfish Saturday weighing 66 pounds, 14 ounces. All were released alive.
Qualifying tournaments in the $1.9 million Wal-Mart Redfish Series; the most lucrative redfish tournament trail in the world, are three day events. Up to 150 teams compete Thursday and Friday, and the top five teams, based on heaviest combined weight, advance to Saturday’s final round. The winning team is determined Saturday based on the heaviest three-day accumulated weight.
The FLW Redfish Series consists of two divisions,Eastern and Western. Each division is comprised of four qualifying events with a $200,000 purse for each event. The top 100 teams, 50 from each division after four qualifying events — will qualify for the three day, no entry fee $300,000 Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Championship to be held in Orange Beach, Ala., Oct. 18-20. The championship winner will take home as much as $100,000.
Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.
Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most-respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world’s leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Wal-Mart.com.
For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
This week’s FLW Redfish Series event at Port Aransas is presented by Evinrude Outboards.