HOUMA, La. – Last month at the 2014 Louisiana Crawfish Festival and for the first time in professional redfish tournament history, one competitor, Paul Dufrene stood on the stage to accept his reward and congratulations without a partner or team mate for winning this one angler per boat, professional event that in another first allowed the anglers, 5 fish per day, each.
That was an open event, this week it was the official start to the 2014 Yellowfin Elite Series tournament season. Anglers competed April 24-26 out of Houma, La.. Another twist to this competition was the 14 days (prior to Monday, the week of the event) of off limits where anglers could not be on tournament waters.
A “dead period” to being on tournament waters and for getting information or help (for the first time in professional redfishing) was instituted, followed by 3 days of official practice, for all anglers, then the event.
After three days of grueling solo combat in the vast marshes of southeastern Louisiana, Shane Pescay made history by winning the first Yellowfin Boats Elite Series redfish tournament, also called the E:40 Tour. Pescay brought in a three-day limit of 15 redfish for a total winning weight of 113.83 pounds for a 7.58-pound average. For the victory and for having the 2nd biggest bag of the weekend in the Talon Challenge, Pescay earned checks totaling $27,000.
In most professional redfish tournaments, anglers fishing in teams of two may only bring in up to two redfish per day. Under the Yellowfin Boats Elite Series redfish tournament rules, lone participants compete against each other directly without a partner for the first time. Each angler may bring in up to the state allowed limit, which is five redfish between the lengths of 16 inches and 27 inches per day in Louisiana.
Pescay started strong, placing 10th after the first day of competition with 36.13 pounds. On the second day, he brought in the heaviest bag for that day, 40.46 pounds. He capped the contest and secured the victory on the final day with a 37.24-pound bag.
After leading on the first 2 days with the help of an 42.00 pound 5 fish limit on day 1, the tournament’s single biggest bag and winner of the Talon Challenge, Griffin finished second overall with a three-day limit of 111.31 pounds.
Griffin caught 38.36 pounds on the second day and 30.20 pounds on the final day. For second place and winning the Talon Challenge, Griffin collected checks totaling $14,500.
Dwayne Eschete finished third with 15 redfish weighing 110.57 pounds to pocket $7,500. He brought in catches of 36.86 pounds on Day 1 and 36.94 pounds on Day 2. He finished the tournament with a 36.77-pound bag on day 3.
Landing in fourth, Paul Dufrene brought in a three-day limit of 15 reds for 107.98 pounds. He caught 37.44 pounds on Day 1, 35.88 pounds on Day 2 and capped the event with 34.66-pound effort on Day 3 to earn $6,000.
Nicky Savoie took fifth place with 15 redfish going 107.42 pounds to win $5,000 but added to his take another $2,000 by having the 3rd biggest bag of the weekend, (a whopping 40.42 pounds on day 2) in the Talon Challenge. Jay Cedotal also brought in a limit of 15 reds to place sixth with 99.50 pounds and landed the 4th biggest bag of the weekend. His 6th place finish and Talon Challenge big bag bonus netted him $5,500. Wrapping up the top seven anglers, Mike Lambert landed 15 fish to end the event with 98.99 pounds and $3,000 in his pocket.
The final 2 winners of the weekend was Erik Rue who weighed in the 5th biggest bag of the weekend, a 37.64 pound 5 fish limit on day 1 and even though he failed to make the cut to fish on day 3, netted a cool $2,000 cash bonus in the final pay spot of the Talon Challenge. Clark Jordan won a brand new Talon shallow water anchoring system (any color and any length he wants) in a drawing at the captain’s meeting, valued at $2,000.00.
The next Yellowfin Boats Elite Series redfish tournament will take place May 29-31, 2014 in Biloxi, MS. The Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino will host the event. For more information on the Yellowfin Boats Elite Series, see theredfishseries.com. For more information on Yellowfin’s great line up of boats, please visit Yellowfin.com.