PORT ARANSAS, Texas – With the top three teams separated by less than four pounds heading into the third and final day, the teams were asked what it would take for them to win this second Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup presented by Skeeter.
Eddie Adam and Sean O’Connell lead with 31 pounds, 13 ounces after two-fish limits of 16-10 and 15-3. They said they’re still pursuing the target weight they set before the event began.
“We said coming into this that 14 pounds a day would probably win this tournament,” O’Connell said. “We crushed that weight the first day, gave us a bit of a pad. I think we have a little bit of a cushion, but anything can happen out there. We caught two of the right fish yesterday, otherwise we would have come in with 11 pounds, a big difference.”
Adams agreed the mission is 14, but he’d sure like more.
“It won’t definitely seal the deal, but it would give us a good opportunity to win. I think over 15 would close the door. If we catch 16, it’s over with.”
Not so fast sparky.
Last year, the winning team of Ryan Rickard and Bassmaster Elite Series pro Chris Zaldain landed 17-5 on the third day to win with 43-4. The defending champs stand with a two-day total of 29-10, 2-3 back. Also last year, Derek Hudnall and Ron Hueston busted 18-3 on the final day to climb into second, so big bags are a definite possibility.
Rickard said the goal today is to catch two of the 9-pound unicorns and again end up on top.
“It’s going to be tough, but it’s doable,” Rickard said. “We had 17 and a half on Day 3 last year. What we have realized, to keep our moral up, is the fact that we have posted heavier weights both days than we did last year. If we catch two of the right fish – there’s not a lot but they are in the area we are in – it’s going to take 18 pounds for us to back it up.”
Adams and O’Connell were reminded of the two big bags last year, but that didn’t change their target.
“I’ll take my chances with 15,” Adams said. “If somebody beats us, they deserve it.”
“Ryan is a great fisherman,” O’Connell said. “He’s always right there in the mix. He said me, ‘You’re always pushing me, always pushing me.’ It’s our turn to see if we can push back.”
“He’s a great guy, but I’m not going to be sad if he finishes second today.”
Local redfish pro Kevin Akin and teammate Drew Cook have 27-15 and stand 3-14 behind the leaders. Akin said it’s not out of the realm that his team could end up with the $75,000 first prize and hardware.
“I think we’d be perfectly happy with 18 pounds,” Akin said. “It’s there. We logged in a program toward the end of the day that has them.”
“The bite has been weird. There’s a morning bite then a lull. We have a really good chance of seeing the school that has them. We saw them once yesterday, but another boat ran over them. It’s there. The area code we’re fishing in, several teams are in there and the fish are in there.”