by Steve Bowman
Web posted on May 04, 2004
go to any lengths to reach what they consider to be a honey hole.
Johnston and Pete Young discuss strategy; then take off for a day on
Just ask Pete Young of Luling, La., and Stephen Johnston of
Hemphill, Texas, one of the teams to make the finals at the Oh Boy! Oberto
Redfish Cup event at Kemah, Texas.
Getting to their prime water
meant squeezing under a low bridge, which wasn’t too difficult during the
qualifying round in Johnston’s bass boat.
However, in the finals,
all five teams compete in similar 24-foot Triton bay boats with a center
console, which has a much higher profile than a bass boat.
tight getting in on the first day,” said Johnston, who guides for bass on
Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn reservoirs. “We measured the Triton and knew
we couldn’t get in the way it was.”
When the team got to the
bridge, they discovered the hard north wind following the cold front had
changed the situation dramatically.
“The water had fallen about
three feet, but we still had to take the windshield and handrail off,”
Young, who is accustomed to fishing in shallow
water as a guide out of Venice, La., said it didn’t take long to realize
the team’s chances had disappeared with the water.
“We had caught
good fish in there all week,” Young said. “Our only concern was the water.
I knew we were in trouble when I shut the boat down and it didn’t move.
That was a bad feeling. We ended having to get out and push four times
before we got back out. There was just no water. Our fish had packed up
and moved out during the night.”
BRING ‘EM ON
When pro bass
fishermen Stephen Browning and Jeff Coble claimed last weekend’s Cup
victory at Kemah, some thought it might cause a little animosity from the
Not so, says Bryan and Greg Watts of Florida,
the reigning Cup champions.
“We think it’s great,” Bryan said. “We
used to fish a lot of bass tournaments in the ‘80s and ‘90s. I think
there’s going to be a lot of bass fishermen come in and pick up this
redfish game now that they’ve seen what Stephen and Jeff have done. And we
can’t wait for the competition.”
Local favorite Rick Kersey, who
finished second in the Kemah tournament with his partner Bryan Sandow,
echoed the sentiments of the Watts brothers.
“Those guys are
great,” Kersey said of the bass anglers. “We don’t mind it at all. At this
level, we all recognize they do have a clue and that means we have a lot
of respect for each other.”
unusually late cold front wreaked havoc on the fishing strategy of the
five finalists, including the Watts brothers and the runners-up.
“We could see the fish on the recorder,” said Bryan Watts after
the team’s third-place finish with 5.17 pounds. “They just wouldn’t bite.
We thought they would eventually come up and bite, so we hammered it out.
“We decided to live or die in that one spot because we knew there
were good fish there. I guess we were lucky to catch that one fish.”
Kersey and Sandow, who weighed in 15.0 pounds, had to deal with a
howling north wind.
“We started out by going further back up the
bay to try to get to where it was a little calmer,” Kersey said. “That
didn’t play out like we thought, so we went to our best spot in the middle
of the bay. We put out two drift anchors and we were able to fish,
although it wasn’t like we wanted it.
“But we can’t complain. We
thought our fish would be close, but we were a little