Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chris Williams Talks About 2010 IFA Redfish Championship

Our tournament was scheduled to be on Friday November 5th and Saturday November 6th 2010. But unfortunately, the weather was so bad Friday that they had to postpone the tournament till Saturday and Sunday. So my partner (Kirk) and I decided to head to our spots to nail down a game plan for the tournament. The North wind was so bad on Friday that all of the water in our A and B spot was completely gone along with the fish and our game plan. Instantly freaked out, we decided to go scout some more. We moved down the shoreline to spot C and low and behold the fish remained in the spot and so did the water! We caught two fish out of the spot to check the weights of the fish and they were solid at 6 lbs a piece. “Perfect!” we thought. Knowing that 6 lbs won’t win the tournament but it will put us in the top 10 if not the top 5, we went with it. So we loaded up the boat and headed home.

Tournament Day 1:
We headed out at first light and started our two hour boat ride to our spot. It was so cold outside that I had on two jackets and a face shield just to keep my nose from freezing and falling off. Once we got close to our spot, we high centered the boat on a mud flat that we couldn’t see and that wasn’t there the day before. Apparently it was dead low tide again and the wind had pushed all the water out of the bay we had to pass through. “Uhh…I thought. It’s going to be a long day.” After about 15 min of grunt work, we got the boat off the flat and proceeded to head into our spot. Now remember, we have to be back to the weigh-in by 3:00 PM, giving us four hours to fish “Assuming” that we have no issues such as getting gas or running aground (which we had to do both). So realistically, we only had about 3 hours to catch our fish for the day and head back. So anyway, back to the story. Upon reaching our first spot, the water was so low we couldn’t get back into the pond where the fish were. “Great, just great” we thought. So we started fishing the shoreline surrounding the pond waiting for the tide to rise so we could force our way back in there. We managed to pick up one fish just milling around waiting so we still felt good about our chances but we not convinced we were going to pick up what we needed to put us in contention for a top 5 finish.

Finally, after about 2 hours the tide had rose enough for us to get back there. This left us about an hour to catch one more fish, if not cull up on the 5 lbs fish we had in the live well. Once we got back there the redfish were everywhere, blowing up the water on both sides of the banks eating small shrimp and minnows. The wind was still howling. It took everything I had to navigate the boat and keep it strait so we could chase these fish. After about 5 casts, I gave up and just proceeded to navigate the boat and let my partner do the sight fishing and the catching. Thankfully, this is a team sport and my partner is a top notch angler! The fish seemed to be a bit spooky but they just couldn’t resist the Z-Man Minnowz we were throwing at them. We boated somewhere around 5 more fish in that pond culling up almost every time. Around 1:45 we called it a day and started heading back to get gas for the ride home. By the way, we left the fish biting.

Man that was hard to do….
We make it back to the weigh in with about 5 min to spare. “Whew! We made it Kirk.” He just smiled and said, “Yes we did.” Jerry the tournament director, calls us up, so up the ramp we go to the stage to weigh in. I weigh my fish first; look around at the cameras and such, instantly getting nervous. Jerry calls out a good weight of 6.07 lbs for the first fish. Kirk is next, he places his fish on the scales and it weighs 5.83 lbs. giving us a day 1 total of 11.90 lbs firmly placing us in 9th place going into day 2. Feeling good about our position and knowing what kind of fish we left in our pond, we went to load the boat up and head home.

Tournament Day 2:
The day started out just like the day before, COLD and WINDY! The time had changed on us so instead of casting off at 7 AM, the take off had been moved up to 6 AM.
“Sweet” we thought, “an extra hour to fish.”
Take off was just like the day before, 2 hour ride to the spot and hopefully we had more water so we could just go straight to our spot. But unfortunately, it was just as it was the day before and we high centered the boat again on the same flat. We even took another line farther out “away” from where we got stuck the day before. Eventually, we moved off the flat and proceeded to get into our spot. This time, I forced us in to the pond. Thank the lord for a 101 lbs thrust trolling motor. Once we were in the pond, the fish were blowing up everywhere but they wouldn’t eat a single thing we through at them. We chased these fish all the way to the back of the pond. As we slowly approached the back of the pond, the fish were everywhere. We power poled down and waited to see what they were doing and how they were moving around the shoreline hoping they would give us a solid pattern to attack. Next thing we knew, a school of about 5 or 6 fish come down the shoreline, right at the boat. Kirk cast in front of the school and waited for them to come to the bait. “Here they come……wait for it……wait for it……….TWITCH! TWITCH! BAM!!! Fish on baby! Fish on!” I just love the feel of a big redfish pulling drag on our Ardent C400 Reels! I went to get the net but Kirk just flipped the fish in the boat. Just goes to show you the strength of the Fetha Styx rods right there. There aren’t many rods out there that allow you to just flip a 6 lb fish in the boat without using a net! I instantly had Kirk another rod while I tend to the fish. Bam! Fish on again. I haven’t even de-hooked the fish he just caught. “That’s what I’m talking about Kirk!”
“Brought your selves” he says in his Cajun accent.

I instantly start laughing, there is just something that cracks me up every time when starts that Cajun accent and lingo. We ended up boating about 5 or 6 fish before the schools calm down and retreat to the shallows where we couldn’t get to them. So we start our trek back down the shoreline to try to cull up on weight. About halfway down the shoreline, I make a blind cast then instantly have to correct the path of the boat with the trolling motor to keep us straight. Then all of a sudden, woah…the rod bout comes out of my hand. I set the hook out of instinct and “Fish on Baby!” Only this time, we won’t take the chance at flipping this one in the boat, he was a pig! Kirk nets him and we both just look at each other. This one is a stud for sure! He grabs the Boga Grip and weigh him, “just over 8 lbs” he says! We are in shock, our hearts are about to beat out of our chests. “Let’s measure him” I say. Low and behold, he is about 1/16th over sized. Instantly, our hearts break. If that fish would have measured it would have put is in the top 4 if not the top 3 for sure. Distraught by the fish being oversized, we toss him back. We eventually pick up a few more fish but nothing that allowed us to cull up. Kirk looks at his watch, “Man 1:00 pm comes fast dude, time to go bro.” So we pack up the boat, suit up for the wet and rough ride back to the weigh in. We get back with about 15 min to spare this time because it wasn’t nearly as rough of a ride back as it was the day before. Upon reaching the docks, our hearts are starting to really get after it. “Man, these fish aren’t what we need to place as high as we want” I say. “Don’t worry about it bro, we got this,” utters Kirk. I smile and say, “Let’s do this.” We bump knuckles and head up to the weigh in with our two fish.

Jerry calls us up again to weigh our fish. “Here we go Kirk.” I’m up first, Jerry calls out the weight of 6.39. Man, I thought that fish was a little bigger than that. Kirk is next, his fish weighed 6.14! Jerry gives us a big congrats and interviews us a bit. “Where did you go, what did you catch them on, how far did you run, how many did you catch.” You know, all the normal questions. Then proceeds to tell us that this weight puts us in 3rd! I’m ecstatic by this point. But knowing that there are still a few teams to weigh in, we head back into the crowd to wait it out. Once all the teams weigh in they have a short intermission. Kirk and I are going through D.T’s. Well, at least I am. Finally, after what seemed like an hour of them totaling up the weights, they start calling out the top 25 teams. They get through the first 15 teams and haven’t called us yet. “Dude, we are in the top 10!” I tell Kirk, he gives me a huge smile. They call out 5 – 10. We haven’t been called yet! I’m freaking out at this point. “Next up is our 5th place team of Kirk Davis and Chris Williams with a two day total of 24.43 lbs!” My heart stops! I’m all smiles at this point. I look at Kirk and he is grinning from ear to ear. We go up to collect our trophies and get interviewed again. Jerry looks at me and asked, “How many miles did you travel to catch those fish?” I responded, “About 120 miles round trip.” Then proceeds to ask Kirk and me some more questions in front of the cameras, I was nervous and ultra excited all at the same time. After some picture taking time for the media and World Fishing Network we head down to the boat to go put it up on the trailer and head home. Once we get to the boat, we look at each other fist bump and say, “Let’s do it again next year bro!” Then we head off into the sunset on the phones with our families telling them the news.

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