UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Kentucky / Barkley Lake

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Hanna is NOT in Montana

Hanna is NOT in Montana
With day two postponed, Diane and Fred Winters remove the rods from their boat before heading back to their hotel.

FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. - She'll kindly spare the Sunshine State a direct hit, but on her way toward landfall somewhere in the Carolinas, Tropical Storm Hanna will pass close enough to northeast Florida to pull the plug on day two of Redfish Series competition at Fernandina Beach.

Based on Thursday afternoon's forecast, tournament officials initially gave anglers the green light for Friday's scheduled second round. However, the unpredictable nature of tropical weather makes it difficult to accurately determine timing and impacts. So, when Friday morning brought 20-mph winds that promised to at least double in strength, anglers were told to stay in port.

"With the reports we've gotten, this afternoon we're looking at 45- to 50-mph gusts, and we can't have our By 7 a.m., the scheduled checkout time, strong winds were foaming the waters of Fernandina Beach Marina.customers out in that kind of weather - we don't want to take the chance on someone getting hurt," said Tournament Director Dan Grimes. "Everybody is good with that, so we're going to cancel today's competition and get day two in tomorrow."

Weather forecasts call for Hanna to move quickly past Northeast Florida, so Saturday's conditions should allow the tournament's second qualifying round, with the top five teams advancing to the finale now scheduled for Sunday.

Grimes explained that if Hanna also makes Saturday unfishable, the teams that finished in the top five spots on Thursday's opening round will advance to the finale. "This is the only thing we can do. We just want to look out for people's lives, and that's what's most important."

Palm fronds next to a shrimping industry monument at the Fernandina waterfront whip wildly in the wind.Roger Crafton of Boca Grande, Fla., and John Ochs of Englewood, Fla., lead the first day's competition with a two-redfish limit weighing 11 pounds, 12 ounces. They caught their fish by push -poling along the edges of Spartina grass marsh and casting soft-plastic jerkbaits and in-line spinnerbaits.

Trailing by just 4 ounces, Chris Joseph of Holmes Beach, Fla., and John Jernigan of Venice, Fla., caught their weight of 11 pounds, 8 ounces by 8:30, while the third-place anglers, Scott Owens of Brunswick, Ga., and Robert Aldridge of Jacksonville, Ga., caught over 20 reds en route to bagging their 10-3 weight.

Bottom line: It's anyone's game. Once teams return to the water and determine whose fish have stayed put and whose have displaced, the picture could change dramatically.

National Guard teammates and husband-wife duo Fred and Dianne Winters of Port Charlotte, Fla., pulled their boat down to Fernandina Harbor Marina, but never took it off the trailer. Although he was eager to resume the hunt, he agreed with the postponement.

"I think it's a great decision," he said. "A lot of boats are fishing south, so we have to go across NassauTexas-rigged soft plastics are a good choice for targeting redfish in flooded grass. Sound and it gets pretty ugly. The wind is supposed to pick up later today."

The Winters did not weigh a fish on day one, but Fred said they found plenty of reds - all were either over or under the length limit.

When teams return to the water, most will target redfish tailing in the Spartina grass on incoming and high tides. Area waters will no doubt bear the muddy results of a passing storm, but marsh grass filters murky water, so the tailing game should remain viable. As the water rises, spinnerbaits and spoons are popular search baits, while soft-plastic jerkbaits rigged weedless work well for casting into the grass.

Logistics

All teams compete during the first two days, and the top five teams based on accumulated weight advance to day three. Final standings are determined by the total weight from all three days.

Flags will remain in constant motion while Tropical Storm Hanna passes Northeast Florida.Saturday and Sunday teams will take off at 7 a.m. from Fernandina Harbor Marina, located at 1 Front Street in Fernandina Beach. Saturday's weigh-ins will be held at the Marina beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday's final weigh-ins start at 4 p.m. at the Walmart store located at 1757 South 14th Street in Fernandina Beach. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free, and the community is invited to attend the festivities.

The Fernandina Beach FLW Redfish Series event is hosted by the Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach, Yulee Chamber of Commerce. The top award of $50,000 includes $20,000 cash plus a $15,000 cash bonus from Ranger Boats and a $15,000 cash bonus from Yamaha or Evinrude if contingency guidelines are met.

The top 50 teams in each division of the 2008 FLW Redfish Series, based on Land O'Lakes Team of the Year points standings at the end of the season, will advance to the $300,000 Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Championship Oct. 30-Nov. 1 in Biloxi, Miss. The winning team at the championship will earn as much as $100,000.

Friday's conditions

Sunrise: 7:05 a.m.
Temperature at takeoff: 75
Expected high temperature: 81
Water temperature: 78
Wind: NNW at 20-25 mph, gusting to 50 mph
Humidity: 74 percent
Day's outlook: showers and windy

Tags: david-a-brown  morning-story  2008-09-04-fernandina-beach 

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