UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Eufaula

Wiggins-Tanner grab Redfish Series lead at Port Lavaca

Wiggins-Tanner grab Redfish Series lead at Port Lavaca
The veteran team of Blair Wiggins (right) and Travis Tanner (left) grabbed the overall lead on day of the Redfish Series event at Port Lavaca, Texas, with a total catch of 16 pounds, 6 ounces.

PORT LAVACA, Texas - After running 160 miles, surviving wind gusts in the 15- to 25-mph range, netting two fish weighing 16 pounds, 6 ounces and grabbing the overall lead at the Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Port Lavaca event, one would think the veteran team of Blair Wiggins and Travis Tanner would be ecstatic over their good fortune.

Well, think again.

"We're hoping we'd come back with 17 or 18 pounds," said Tanner, of Titusville, Fla. "I mean, it was a good day. But I guess we thought we'd do a little better."

Wiggins, who already boasts the 2006 FLW Redfish Series Championship title, agreed that overall, the day was a tad disappointing.

"If everything goes right, we could realistically come back in with 20 to 21 pounds," said Wiggins. "It's pretty rare to catch a 10-pounder in the slot limit, but we've caught three fish that size in practice alone. It was a good day, but it was also quite the experience out there."

The experience Wiggins was mainly referring to was the battle with the extreme winds during Thursday's competition. With huge gusting winds causing headaches for angling teams throughout the day, the team of Wiggins-Tanner was forced to grapple with Mother Nature just like the rest of the 96-boat field.

"Crossing San Antonio Bay wasn't easy," said Wiggins of Cocoa, Fla. "In my entire career, this is the roughest I've ever seen it."

After running 80 miles south of Port Lavaca, a roundtrip journey which took approximately 3 hours, the team of Wiggins-Tanner employed DOA Glow Shrimp Equalizer Rigs to land the majority of their catch.

"As far as the fishing went, we just killed them today," said Tanner. "We probably caught 20 fish today. We didn't even go to our AA spot until 11 a.m. and we're done fishing by around noon. So, it was a pretty good day. We just think we can do better."

Eschete-Pizzolato finish in runner-up position

After netting a total catch of 15 pounds, 10 ounces, Team M&Ms members Dwayne Eschete of Mandeville, La., and Blake Pizzolato of Montgomery, La., landed in second place after the first day of competition at Port Lavaca.

"We really didn't find a whole lot of areas we're confident fishing so we decided to stay close to the marina," said Eschete. "Within the first 20 minutes, we caught a 7 ¼-pounder but then we went two hours without catching another fish. About an hour later we moved to another spot and Blake caught another 7 pounder. And then, with about 20 minutes left we caught that 8 pounder. And that was huge."

The team of Eschete-Pizzolato used 4-inch Berkley Gulp baits to land the majority of their catch. The duo targeted redfish in 3 feet of water, throwing down the bank and focusing in on main points.

"I'd like to day that we feel good about our position right now, but we really only caught four or five fish today," said Eschete. "There aren't a lot of fish in our area, but the ones that are there are pretty good size. Tomorrow, we're just going to have a lot of patience. We can't panic if the bite is slow."

Reupke-Duxstad net third

Using a total catch of 15 pounds, 5 ounces, the team of Steve Reupke and Frank Duxstad, both of Port Aransas, Texas, finished the day in third place.

"We're very happy with how today went," said Reupke. "We'll be even happier tomorrow if we can just back up what we did today."

After netting a top-five finish in the final Redfish Series Western Division event of the 2007 season, the duo appears to have picked up right where they left off.

"It's all finally coming together for us," said Reupke, whose team is targeting redfish with Texas Tackle Factory soft plastics in a plum/chartreuse color. "We're really starting to gel right now."

If today's success is any indication, the rest of the Western Division better start paying close to Reupke-Duxstad in the future. After making a 112-mile run one way to the Triple Well Flats area, the team netted their first two bites and immediately called it quits right around noon.

"We wanted to save some of fish," said Reupke. "We thought about fishing longer but there's always tomorrow and Saturday. Basically, we have three or four good spots, but we're choosing to only focus in on two of them each day. Hopefully, our fish hold up for the next few days because we're going to be doing the same thing tomorrow."

Best of the rest

Fourth place belonged to the Team Duracell members Andy Mnichowski of Marrero, La., and Billy Nicholas of San Marcos, Texas. However, although the team netted a total catch of 15 pounds, 1 ounce, the talk of the day was Nicholas' amazing, one-fish catch weighing in at 10 pounds, 8 ounces.

"It's the biggest fish I've ever caught (in the slot limit)," said Nicholas, who admitted that he is more than just a little excited about the start of Friday's competition. "If the weather calms down tomorrow, it's on!"

Rounding out the top-five teams was Jerry Hensley of El Campo, Texas, and Sonny Heabert of Victoria, Texas. The duo landed a total catch of 15 pounds.

Friday's Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series action continues during tomorrow's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Central Time at Lighthouse Beach, located at 700 Lighthouse Beach Boulevard in Port Lavaca, Texas.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2008-04-10-port-lavaca 

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