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

The ‘Redeem Team’

The ‘Redeem Team’
Skipper Mock (left) of South Padre Island, Texas, and partner Eddie Curry of Port Isabel, Texas, show off their hardware after winning first place at the FLW Redfish Series event at Rockport.

ROCKPORT, Texas - Move over U.S. Men's Olympic Basketball, the FLW Redfish Series has a "Redeem Team" of its own. After losing the Redfish Series event at Rockport, Texas, by a grand total of 3 ounces in 2007, Skipper Mock of South Padre Island, Texas, and partner Eddie Curry of Port Isabel, Texas, did everything in their power to ensure a different outcome in 2008.

Still smarting from their second-place finish a year prior, Mock and Curry hit the open waters of Rockport's Gulf Coast early Saturday morning on a mission - to capture their very first Redfish Series tournament title and erase the painful memories of 2007. While it wasn't easy, in the end, the duo finally prevailed.

Bolstered by a final-day catch of 16 pounds, 6 ounces, Mock and Curry put together a three-day total of 48 pounds, 9 ounces to eke out victory over hard-charging Team Folgers and capture a first-place prize of $35,000.

In a further sign that poetic justice is alive and well on the Redfish Series trail, the team's margin of victory turned out to be exactly 3 ounces.

"Finally," said Mock, who breathed a huge sigh of relief once the tournament was over. "This is our very first win, and it's been five years in the making. It definitely feels good."

"Finally," echoed Curry. "That was a little closer than I wanted it to be. But we worked really hard today, and we're happy with what we got. Over the past three days, we only caught nine keeper fish. But five of those happened to be over 8 pounds. We got really lucky.

"We both guide, so we didn't have much time to prefish. And we stayed at one spot all week. On the first day we didn't have a fish until 1 p.m., and then today, we didn't have one fish in the boat until 12:30. So it's definitely nice to come away with the win."

Like the previous two days, Mock and Curry traveled south to the Flower Bluff-JFK Bridge area to land their catch in an area they termed as the "Golden Triangle." They targeted redfish with a combination of Berkley Gulp Shrimp and Norton Minnows. But like 2007, things didn't go exactly as planned - at least for the first half of the day.

"At first, everything we caught was oversized, oversized, oversized," said Mock, referring to the required 20- to 28-inch slot limit that all tournament anglers had to adhere to throughout the three-day event. "Then we started breaking off fish. Basically, everything that could go wrong was going wrong. But in the end, our perseverance paid off."

After a string of bad luck and poor execution, the team finally decided to pull up and move to a new spot. But then something magical happened.

"I had my lifejacket on, and we're seconds from leaving when this boat flew right by us," said Mock. "All of a sudden, this giant school of fish moved right towards us. So we threw in and finally caught the fish we needed. It was unbelievable."

And with that, the "Redeem Team" was born.

Team Folgers settles for second

Heading into the finals, Rockport natives Todd Adams and Tommy Ramzinsky found themselves in third place and needing a perfect day on the water to contend for a tournament title. In the end, they achieved nearly everything they were hoping for - hauling in a mammoth 17-pound stringer but falling just short of victory.

"We had a great day today," said Ramzinsky. "We couldn't have asked for anything more. Our problem was that we just needed a little bit better weight on the first day. But overall, we really can't complain."

Ramzinsky and Adams ultimately had to settle for second place with a total catch of 48 pounds, 6 ounces.

"Of course you always want to win," said Ramzinsky, whose team walked away with over $4,000 in winnings. "But I'm really happy for Skipper and Eddie. They caught good fish all three days and deserved to win."

Day-two leaders come up short in the finals

Teammates Paul Heffernan of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, and David Green of Boerne, Texas, ultimately lost their overall lead in the finals, due in large part to the abundance of local traffic in their key fishing area.

"We saw a whole lot of fish today," said Green, whose team recorded a total three-day catch of 46 pounds, 15 ounces. "But we couldn't get the big bites we needed. We went to our primary area, but there were way too many boats around, so we just kept right on going to our backup spots. Today, we really had to improvise and go to `Plan B.' It just didn't work out."

While the team was disappointed that it didn't walk away with the title, the duo left the tournament with over $2,000 in prize money and the knowledge that they had qualified for their very first FLW Redfish Series Championship.

Culpeppers fail in repeat bid

Although the brother tandem of Kris and Jonathan Culpepper failed to defend their 2007 Redfish Series Rockport title, the teammates said they did everything in their power to secure victory and become the first Redfish Series team to capture four tournament victories.

"It was a good day. We caught a lot of fish, executed perfectly and made good decisions," said Jonathan Culpepper, whose team recorded a total weight of 46 pounds, 13 ounces to grab fourth place overall. "We went out there knowing that we had to come back with a big sack. We had our two weight fish in the boat by 8:45 a.m. and spent the whole rest of the day trying to upgrade. We wound up catching some really big fish, but, unfortunately, they were just over the slot limit. But that's how it goes. All you can do is go out there and do your best."

The Culpeppers, who targeted redfish in the Upper Laguna Madre area with 4-inch Berkley Gulp Shrimp, walked away with over $1,600 in prize money.

Team Walter nabs fifth

The father-and-son duo of Darrell and Robert Walter used a total catch of 44 pounds, 15 ounces to grab fifth place overall and net nearly $1,500 in winnings.

"Today we just had a lot of missed opportunities," said Darrell Walter. "The water was really calm today - almost too calm - and our fish were really spooky. We saw a bunch of nice-sized schools today, but we just could never quite hook up with them."

Upcoming

Walmart FLW Redfish Series Western Division action continues with the final qualifying event of the 2008 season at Cocodrie, La., scheduled to take place Sept. 25-27.

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

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