Nov 10

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Moreno’s 1st Win Solo!


Moreno Takes Top Spot

With the regular season Elite Redfish Series getting underway a full month earlier in 2022 than in previous seasons the pros would have to contend with almost certain erratic weather patterns, remote boat launches and a trailered weigh in taking place in one of the busiest areas of Metairie Louisiana during one of the most popular festivals of the year. It didn’t take long to realize the 2022 Mardi Gras Cup was going to have 2 major elements for the pros of the Elite Redfish Series Solo Tour. One would be cold and wet weather, a familiar February pattern in Louisiana and the second, the largest crowds to ever witness a redfish tournament.

The big draw was the Family Gras Festival returning after 2 years off due to Covid and featured great food, fun and top entertainment like Sister Sledge, Martina McBride, Marie Osmond and others. The reward would be a guaranteed $10,000.00 check and a chance to showcase their success and the sport of redfishing in front of thousands of spectators each of the 2 days of competition.

A Tough Opening Day for Pros

As the pros made their way to the festival grounds on Memorial Highway and hit the stage for day 1 it was Gary Moreno taking the lead with 2 live redfish for a total of 17.15 pounds total with a 10.14 pounder of his own. “The wind was blowing and the water was muddy but I did manage to eek out a few fish early on a Berkley Gulp paddle tail”, Moreno told the crowd that assembled to watch the live weigh in. Fighting muddy water throughout the morning of day 1 Moreno found clearer water around 12:30 PM when a huge redfish snuck up on him and went under the boat.“I literally dropped my Berkley Gulp straight down beside the boat and he ate it, this fish was huge, a 10 pounder!” 

With the kicker fish of a lifetime it was time to load up and begin the 1.5 hour drive back to the festival grounds for the weigh in. As Moreno set the mark closely behind him in 2nd place was Alabama pro Barnie White weighing in 17.05 anchored by a 10.18 giant. Third place after day 1 was held by another newcomer to the Elite Redfish Series, Max Martin who fell significantly behind with just 14.75. “Tomorrow is another day, I saw some good fish and I believe I can do some damage tomorrow if the weather gives me a chance.” Martin confidently told the crowd. He would have his chance but the weather took a turn for the worse on day 2.

Beautiful But Tough Final Day

While the sun was shining brightly on day 2, the winds were blowing hard out of the north and looked to play a major factor in the conclusion of the first Elite Mardi Gras Cup to be held in Metairie. Moreno caught a 9 late in day 2 but brought just 13.65 pounds to the scale opening the door wide open to White and other anglers looking to win the first solo tour stop of 2022. “What a bonehead move, I left to come back to the weigh in an hour earlier than I had to, I don’t know what I was thinking, nerves I guess.” Moreno confessed to the crowd which had his family in full attendance for the first time ever getting to see him weigh in at a tournament.

After day 2’s dust settled it was Mississippi pro Bo Favre bringing in the largest 2 fish limit weighing 15.35 pounds and did so from a borrowed boat as his 2022 rig would not be finished in time for the earlier than normal start to the season. Bo finished in the 5th and final spot to make it to the big stage for the awards presentation.

White Opens Door for Martin to Finish 2nd

















Max Martin weighed in another solid limit of fish to finish in 2nd place and a check for $3,500 “I was shocked when I saw the size of the check, I thought I would just get my entry fee back but it was a lot more than that.” Max jumped into 2nd place after Barnie White failed to weigh a fish on day 2. “It was just a tough day, I didn’t see that coming”, White said but still hit the festival stage to greet the crowd and take home a nice check for $5,500.00 winning the Brecknell Big Red Challenge with his day one 10.14 pound redfish. “It’s been a long time since we have seen this large of a crowd at a redfish event.” White told the crowd which immediately brought loud cheers. After 2nd – 4th received their awards and with bands getting set for an fun afternoon and evening of top entertainment it was time to introduce the champion.

Incredible Experience for First Time Winner

Gary Moreno held off all challengers by 5.10 pounds with a 2 day total of 30.80 pounds on just 4 live Louisiana redfish. Gary took home the check for $10,000.00, 800+ points toward the Tidewater Boats Angler of the Year, 2 tickets for the free boat giveaway at season’s end and the title of Elite Redfish Series Solo Champion. “This is incredible to fish my first ever 1 angler event, to win my first ever tournament and to do both of those with my family witness me weighing in live for the first time ever. There’s a lot of first for me this week and I’ll never forget this one.” Gary Moreno winner of tour stop 1 and the first Elite Redfish Series Mardi Gras Cup presented by Visit Jefferson Parish. Gary’s Equipment Notes: El Pescador Boats – Mercury Outboards – Coastline Trailers – Power Poles – Minn Kota – Simrad Electronics – Hookspit Rods – Lews Reels – Fins Braid



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