GEORGETOWN, S.C. — Efficiency and adjustment proved foundational for Fred Myers III of Panama City, Fla., and Cody Chivas of Indian Shores, Fla., who took over the Day 2 lead at the Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter Boats at Winyah Bay with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 14 ounces.
Myers and Chivas, the 2023 Redfish World Series champions, placed second on Day 1 with two fish for 8-8. The second round was more generous, with both anglers filling their two-fish limits and tallying a team total of four redfish that weighed 12-6.
The leaders edged Elite Redfish Series pros Travis Land and Jeremy Reeves by 1-1.
“We caught a lot of fish yesterday and only came in with two, so we were kinda scratching our heads,” Chivas said. “Today was just as tough. I caught two (keepers) back to back, then we went 2 1/2 hours with Fred on the bow and he did the same thing — boom-boom.”
The tournament format allows anglers to keep redfish measuring between 17 and 23 inches. Each angler can weigh up to two fish per day for a total of four fish per team.
“We just have to do the same thing tomorrow,” Chivas said. “This fishery is actually very good; there’s a ton of fish here. We’ve caught more fish here the last two days than we did all year fishing Texas, Louisiana and Florida.”
The leaders returned to the same marsh island they fished on Day 1 and expanded their game to capitalize on both ends of the tide.
“The bite was a little slower this morning, but once the tide started to turn a little bit, we caught more of the bigger fish today,” Chivas said. “We really only had about one hour where we didn’t catch fish. The slot fish are just tough to come by.”
As Myers explained, securing two angler limits required him and Chivas to fish two different patterns.
“We had a deep-water bite and a shallow-water bite,” he said. “That was the key, in my opinion. Instead of wasting a lot of boat running time, we would just trolling motor over to the next bank.”
During the higher water period, Chivas caught his two keepers on a Berkley Gulp! Shrimp under a popping cork. When the water was lower, Myers got his two on a 4-inch Saltwater Assassin Elite Shiner swimbait rigged weedless on a 4/0, 3/16-ounce belly-weighted hook.
“We sat with the Power-Poles down the majority of the day, waiting for the tide to get right,” Myers said. “We just had fish coming to us.
“Tomorrow, we may not have the fish to win, but we learned a lot about the area, and I believe we can finally target some of those slot fish. The high-water bite, we’re just catching whatever will bite, but the shallow-water fish seem to fit that slot a little better.”
Chivas said he and Myers will start on the same water they’ve fished for two days. But if needed, they have a tempting backup.
“We have some fish in another area that may have been our best day of pre-fishing, but it’s a longer run,” Chivas said. “We haven’t done it because we’re catching fish (closer). The last couple of days, when it got slow, we’ll ask ourselves, ‘Do we make a move?’
“We were going to make a move this morning, but I’m glad we stayed.”
Myers agreed: “It’s hard to leave fish to find fish.”
Hailing from Sequin, Texas, and Orange, Texas, respectively, Land and Reeves placed fourth on Day 1 with a single 3-7 slot fish. The second round saw them step on the gas and sack up a team limit of four redfish that weighed 16-6 — the event’s heaviest bag — for a 19-13 total.
Land said he and Reeves fished the hard edge of oyster bars close to marsh grass. Targeting tidal drains was their main strategy.
Reeves caught his fish on Berkley Gulp! Shrimp and Paddle Tail Minnows on 1/4-ounce jigheads, while Land found success with a 5-inch Berkley Hollow Belly swimbait rigged weedless on a 1/4-ounce jighead.
“We made a small adjustment (in location), but we surely didn’t know what was there,” Reeves said. “We said, ‘Why don’t we go over there and try it,’ and we caught a bunch of fish.”
Land said the area he and Reeves transitioned to rewarded them with astounding action.
“I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time about a redfish tournament,” he said. “We left them biting. That spot is absolutely loaded; we were catching them right off the trolling motor.”
Dwayne Eschete, the Elite Redfish Series pro from Lake Jackson, Texas, and Drew Cook, a Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Cairo, Ga., placed third with 19-6. After topping the first day with the opening round’s only four-fish limit — 16-4 — they added one keeper Saturday that went 3-2.
Seeking to repeat the game plan that served them well in the opening round, Eschete and Cook struggled through a painfully slow day that saw their main spot fizzle.
“Fishing can be weird sometimes,” Eschete said. “We actually put eyes on fish today all around us and they just wouldn’t eat.
“Yesterday, we got the bites. Today, we caught maybe five or six fish and some big flounder. We just didn’t get the slot fish today. But tomorrow we’re going to go back and do the same thing we did today and yesterday, because tomorrow might be another day like Day 1.”
Transitioning to their second area, which produced one of their slot fish on Day 1, Eschete and Cook continued to struggle finding slot fish until Cook nabbed their one keeper about 5 minutes before they had to leave. That fish ate a Berkley Gulp! Shrimp on a 1/4-ounce jighead.
Sunday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7:15 a.m. ET at East Bay Public Ramp. The weigh-in will be held at Francis Marion Park at 3 p.m. Coverage will be simulcast on FS1 and Bassmaster.com beginning at 8 a.m.
The 2023 Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship presented by Skeeter Boats is being hosted by Georgetown County, S.C.