UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Lake Wylie

Team Morgan nets Redfish Series lead

Team Morgan nets Redfish Series lead
The father-and-son team of Henry (left) and Hunter Morgan finished the day in first place at the Redfish Series event at Rockport with a total catch of 17 pounds, 4 ounces.

ROCKPORT, Texas - As predicted, anglers hauled in plenty of huge stringers on the opening day of FLW Redfish Series action at Rockport. But while many teams topped the scales with incredible weights, the chief beneficiary of the bountiful harvest was the father-and-son team of Hunter and Henry Morgan.

"It was just a great, great day. We're really fortunate to get the right bites early," said Hunter Morgan, whose team landed a whopping two-fish total of 17 pounds, 4 ounces - all within the required 20- to 28-inch slot limit. "And because we're able to get our fish early, we really had a chance to play around the rest of the day. Right now we're very excited. Hopefully our fish will still be there tomorrow."

To land its limit, Team Morgan made a 50-mile one-way run toward the upper lagoon area of Corpus Christi.

"We're targeting schooling redfish in about 4 feet of water," said Hunter Morgan, who hails from Manvel, Texas. "When we got there, we found a school that probably had about 400 fish in it. The best part was that we pretty much had the area all to ourselves. There wasn't a lot of boat traffic near us."

Team Morgan - which landed the majority of its catch with white, 4-inch Berkley Gulp Shrimp - said that a change in philosophy also helped propel them into the lead.

"Last year, we didn't do nearly as well as we wanted to," said Hunter Morgan. "So this year we decided to change game plans and take a lot more gambles. Although it didn't pay off the first two events of this season, today it did. So we're pretty happy about that. We're now fishing to win this tournament."

Team M&Ms ties for second place

Heading into the Rockport event, Team M&Ms members Dwayne Eschete of Mandeville, La., and Blake Pizzolato of Montgomery, La., had one main goal - to maintain their overall lead atop the Redfish Series Western Division standings. However, after today's stellar performance, it now appears that the team's gameplan has been slightly altered.

"Coming into this event, our goal was to win Team of the Year," said Eschete, whose team netted a grand total of 17 pounds, 1 ounce in today's competition. "Blake and I talked about it and we thought if we could just catch 13 or 14 pounds that would probably be good enough to keep us in first place in the standings. But now our goals are a little more ambitious. Now we have a legitimate shot at winning this tournament."

However, today's outing started off far from stellar for the team. After making a 60-mile one-way run, the team only had one 6 1/2-pound fish in the boat after languishing in their prime fishing hole for hours. Shortly after 1:30 p.m., with time ticking off the clock, the duo decided to gamble and make a 30-mile run to a new spot.

"I had found this one area pre-fishing two days before the tournament where I'd found a big school of fish. But when I checked that spot yesterday, the fish weren't there," said Eschete. "But we decided that we didn't really have any better ideas so we decided to go and check it out anyway."

Once they arrived at their new location, the team set up to drift fish. After traveling about 100 yards past the location where said Eschete had first seen his fish, the team hit pay dirt.

"All of a sudden this school appeared," said Eschete. "I made a long cast and as soon as the bait hit the water I was hooked up. I yelled at Blake to throw in and as soon as he did, he hooked up as well. We're battling two fish at once. Our lines were getting crossed. It was kind of crazy. But in the end, we landed twins - big twins."

In the end, the day couldn't have turned out more perfectly for the team.

"What can I say," said Eschete. "Anytime you can bring in 17 pounds you're having a great day."

Meanwhile, the team of Paul Heffernan of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, and David Green of Boerne, Texas, also tied for second place with 17 pounds, 1 ounce.

Best of the rest

Kris Culpepper of Houston, Texas, and brother Jonathan Culpepper of Cypress, Texas, landed in fourth place overall with a total catch of 16 pounds, 9 ounces.After winning the FLW Redfish Series event at Rockport in 2007, it appears that the brother tandem of Kris and Jonathan Culpepper are picking up right where they left off. Buoyed by a catch of 16 pounds, 9 ounces, the duo now stands in fourth place overall. But more importantly, Team Culpepper now has a legitimate chance to defend their title.

Rounding out the top-five teams was Mike Patterson and Brett Phillips, both of Rockport, Texas. The team used a total catch of 15-pounds, 14 ounces to finish the day tied for fifth place. Also tied for fifth place was the team of Richard Gidrey and Sam Celum, both of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Friday's Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series action continues during tomorrow's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. Central Time at the Saltwater Pavilion at Rockport Beach Park, located at 810 Sea Breeze Drive in Rockport, Texas.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2008-08-21-rockport 

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