Feb 11

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Jordan with Classic Performance in Orange, TX.

IMG_0362Clark Jordan leads wire to wire and dominates the field of 30 +1 at the Redfish Classic 2016 Kick Off event to take home the top prize, a Yellowfin / Yamaha / AmeraTrail boat, motor and trailer package valued at $75,000.00.

What a fabulous weekend for The Yellowfin Elite Redfish Series… 3 fish limit per angler, per day, 1 pro per boat with no team mate or armature partner, head to head competition built only for the best of professional redfish anglers.

Unlike in 2015 when Clark Jordan rode a wave of consistency to win the event, leading only the final day of the 3 day competition this year he left no room for doubt leading, seemingly from the moment he backed his boat down to launch on day 1.

30 professional anglers qualified for the Classic Kick Off event and after a great captain’s dinner at the student services center on the Lamar state college anglers were dealt a cruel blow the night before the first day of competition.

A Louisiana deputy was on site and present to explain to the anglers how as much as 90% of the water they had practiced in would be off limits for this event. The room was filled with energy and expressions of disbelief by several of the pros. However, at the end of it all, the deputy left to return to his home state while anglers just felt, left.

The Greater Orange Chamber of Commerce hosted the event while Stark Cultural Venues presented it. These 2 organizations team up regularly to bring top events to their north Texas shores. It was obvious from the first moments that these 2 organizations knew what they were doing and were very successful in helping produce large events like the B.A.S.S. Elite Series.

As the anglers gathered for day 1’s launch a fantastic show of local support came to greet them, take pictures with them, get a few autographs and send off the pros for Day 1’s opening round.

For pros fishing Texas only waters, they would be allowed 3 redfish per day up to 28″ in length but if they crossed over into Louisiana waters, they’d have to throw back 2 of their 28″ fish in hopes of finding fat 27″ replacements which is the allowed maximum size for redfish in Louisiana. However, each angler can have 1 fish over 27″ per day in the state of Louisiana.

After each boat was launched and power poled or anchored in the basin it was time for the opening ceremonies. This would not be like any other event to date and anglers were truly professional in their appearance and actions. As each pro was called to the dock in an Nascar driver introductions type manner, they lined up single file and were greeted by cheering fans of the sport and them.

After the tour had announced each pro it was time for Pastor Bradley to say the opening prayer, he did a terrific job praying for the event and anglers. Immediately following his prayer all that gathered recognized a moment of silence for our friend that we lost last August, #10 Manny Perez. After the moment of silence the playing of the national anthem took place as now both pros and their marshals or cameramen lined the dock. Long time friend and close confidant to Manny, Gritter Griffin was then announced and walked down the dock with one of Manny’s hats on his head (“he’s here, let’s go Manny”) as Griffin climbed in his boat to idle out in memory of and in the place of #10. What a great display of memorial, care and attention to the memory of a great individual by all.

The prayers, anthem, tributes were all complete only one item remained to this grand opening of this event. Greater Chamber representative, John Gothia walked to the end of the short pier and made the ceremonial first cast, signifying the official start to the 2016 Yellowfin Elite Series Classic Kick Off event. Anglers boarded their boats and launched according to the random draw that took place at the captain’s meeting the night before. The results are above along with links to the great photos and shots from this weekend’s event, however, this event was more about the people of Orange and how they came together to make the pros of the Elite Series, some from NC, SC, FL, AL, MS and of course LA and TX all feel like family and treated like professionals. Thank you to each and everyone that made this event the biggest and best that has ever been in professional redfishing, each of you really did outdo yourselves and, if you’ll have us, The Elite Redfish Series will be back!

Permanent link to this article: https://theredfishseries.com/the-2016-elite-classic/