Jun 08

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Hough Tough Enough in Biloxi, MS.

IMG_8787 (640x351)When the anglers of the 2014 Yellowfin Elite Series launched their boats for the first day of competition they began 3 days  of competition under conditions that some would say were, the worst ever in the history of the sport.

35 pros met for a great captain’s meeting and dinner hosted at The Rush lounge located in the middle of the Golden Nugget Casino and Resort. After terrific food and beverages and a short rules meeting the anglers were given their complimentary Frabill nets in hopes of filling those nets with 5 big redfish each day of competition.

It was obvious at day 1’s launch amidst rain and wind that this weekend would be one more related to a marathon and not a sprint. With several anglers choosing to make long runs to fish they had located earlier in the week and under better conditions in Louisiana, leaving Mississippi waters would prove to be demanding on both equipment and anglers a like.  

Day 1 found the return to competitive redfishing by Jason Catchings after doctor’s concerns about a herniated disk in his neck kept him from competing in the opening event of the season. What a return it was, leading all anglers with 26.35 but a long and bumpy ride to south Louisiana was too much on his body and day 2 he chose to stick closer to the Biloxi area and like other anglers, reduce the beating on his body and equipment.  

Eventual winner, Natural Light Pro, Jamie Hough was close after day 1 with 25.20 pounds and had the luxury of a tank of a boat, “I tell you Pat, I love my 25′ Scout it takes this rough water great and fishes shallow. I have fished for 2 years out of big boats like this and usually am at a disadvantage to the shallow running skiffs or tower boats, it’s nice to have an event where my equipment was an advantage, for a change”, Jamie told tour host, Pat Malone on stage.

Erik Rue, always lurking around the top 5 like a hungry redfish waiting to strike at the top spot would weigh in with 24.86 pounds, well within striking distance. The last angler to break the 20 pound mark was Louisiana Pro, Mike Lambert, weighing in 24.68 pounds on day 1, the only question was, would his equipment, and body, hold up under the pounding he was taking in the gulf. Day 2 would play out a bit differently, with top angler after day 1, Jason Catchings choosing to stay closer to Mississippi waters failed to weigh in a fish and would spend the remainder of the weekend, healing up.

The Redfish Series is among the most grueling test of man and machine in the professional redfish arena and this weekend confirmed the guys and the gear that were up to the challenge. Making another cut to fish on day 3 was Paul Dufrene, coming off his big win in the Elite Open kick off event earlier this year in Chalmette. “These guys are the best of the best and to make the cut is a big deal, against this field of anglers”, Dufrene told the crowd rain soaked fans at the H2O pool side weigh in on Saturday. Newcomer to the Super 7, Haynie Pro, Kevin Akin settled in  to the 6th spot after 2 days along with LMC pro Ray Malone and newcomer to the tour, Lance Reynolds, the final day of this competition would prove to be the biggest challenge, weather wise, of the entire weekend.

That angler garnered more support from his fellow anglers, respect and appreciation that had more than 1 angler stating at the mornings launch. “we’re not going to give it to you Jamie, you better catch em all today… but we are pulling for you bud, you deserve this”… Such professionalism, such respect had this humble South Carolinian angler opening choked up on stage during his live interview. Jamie lifts his first to fish and they hit the scale at 11 pounds total, he needs another 20 pound limit for the win. The next two fish hit the scales now they jump to 17+, he needs a fifth fish, he reaches in, and lifts the biggest fish of his weekend, nearly an 8 pounder and takes home the win with a 3 day total of 76.71 pounds, a 9 plus pound margin of victory, dominant!

All in all what a messy weekend, weather wise, but it could not have shined any brighter or any better for one Jamie Hough and for that, we are glad to have been a small part in the big story that was Biloxi, 2014. To the folks at the Golden Nugget we say a tremendous thank you for your support during very difficult conditions. Thank you to our staff and the volunteers that continue to make us what we are. To the anglers a continued thank you for your professionalism and support, even under extreme circumstances and to all the fans, thank you for your continued interest in our sport and series, we are glad we were able to bring you this event and share with you, a truly good story of a good guy making something good happen. 

Permanent link to this article: https://eliteredfishseries.com/e40-tour-heads-to-biloxi/