St. Petersburg USA fishing report

St. Petersburg USA fishing report

The father-son team of C.J. and Chuck Howard of Bradenton caught a two-fish aggregate weight of 13.34 pounds and won $40,000 in the final qualifying event of the 2005 Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup tournament trail Friday at Clearwater’s Coachman Park.

Fishing Sarasota Bay and the Port Manatee area of Tampa Bay, the Howards targeted potholes and depressions surrounded by turtle grass. They blind-casted the shallows early in the day and switched to sight-casting tactics when afternoon sun angles improved visibility.

The winners fished scented soft plastic lures in the Rainbow Shad color pattern. C.J. Howard said they rigged their baits on 1/16-ounce jig heads to allow sufficient casting range without overweighting the lures and snagging in the grassy bottom.

“There wasn’t a school of fish,” Chuck Howard said. “We were catching (individual fish) that were running around. By the end of the day it was a lot of fun. You would see the fish move into the pothole and just rush the lure.”

According to tournament officials, the Howards are the second father-son team to win a Redfish Cup tournament. Brandon and John Garrison of Louisiana won the 2003 Redfish Cup event in Lake Charles, La.

Threats of foul weather from Hurricane Wilma caused event organizers to shorten the tournament from three days to two. The top five from Thursday’s opening field of 75 teams qualified for Friday’s final round. The Howards placed third Thursday with 13.64 pounds.

First day leaders Blaien Friermood of Baytown, Texas, and Jim Franklin of Angleton, Texas, finished second with 12.74 pounds. Rounding out the top five were Greg DeVault of Port Richey and Bill DeVault of New Port Richey (10.34); Allen Kalisky and Billy Blackwood of San Antonio, Texas (9.54); and Mike Friday of Naples and Danny Latham of Punta Gorda (0.00).

David A. Brown covers area fishing tournaments and can be reached at tightlinecomm@aol.com
By DAVID A. BROWN

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