Texas win would be special for Adams, O’Connell

PORT ARANSAS, Texas – Eddie Adams and Sean O’Connell have won the Redfish World Series in their home state of Louisiana the last four years in a row. They’ve competed in redfish events from Florida to Texas, but they’ve never won outside of Louisiana. After two days at the Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup presented by Skeeter, Adams and O’Connell are leading by 2 pounds, 3 ounces over defending champions Ryan Rickard and Chris Zaldain going into Sunday’s final.

“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Adams said. “I haven’t ever won one out of state. It would really be special.”

Adams, from Metairie, and O’Connell, from Mandeville, have been fishing as a team since 2012. Both are 50 years old.

“We won the first tournament we fished together,” O’Connell said.

They’ve weighed the heaviest two-fish limit each day – 16-10 on Day 1 and 15-3 Saturday. That success came while adapting to an overnight shift in the weather, from primarily south winds and warm to primarily north winds and cooler. They are hoping for some sight-fishing weather Sunday, which would be more in their wheelhouse.

“Getting it in front of a fish, that’s what’s important on these long drifts,” O’Connell said. “It’s just cast after cast after cast. We’re averaging probably two casts a minute, maybe two-and-a-half. You can imagine how tired our arms are.

“That’s a lot more casts than what we usually do in a tournament since we’re generally sight-fishing 90 percent of the time. We’ve made more casts since we’ve been here than probably the last 12 tournaments we’ve fished together.”

That factor would be another part of what this win would mean to them – catching redfish in a method they don’t prefer.

The dominant lure for them, by far, has been a swimbait, primarily a 4-inch Berkley Gulp Ripple Mullet. O’Connell has also caught some fish on a 4 ½-inch Down South swimbait in a dirty tequila color. And O’Connell caught a redfish on a bladed jig early Saturday.

Adams and O’Connell caught two fish over the 20- to 28-inch slot limit Saturday, one that measured an eighth-of-an-inch over and the other was 30 inches in length.

“After seeing that (28 1/8th-inch) fish, I know you can catch a 9-pounder here, no doubt,” Adams said.

Added O’Connell, “A 9-pounder is a game changer in any redfish tournament.”

No matter what the weather conditions, it will be business as usual for Adams. He works as a fishing guide and is on the water over 250 days a year.

“I’m out there – good weather, bad weather,” he said. “I’ve got to go out there and make a living whether it’s cupcake weather or hard weather. It makes you a better fisherman.”

Adams and O’Connell would prefer some of that “cupcake weather” Sunday so they could exercise their sight-fishing strengths. But a win in Texas, under any conditions, would be special to them both.