Red Fish Cup - New Schedule
Written by Redfish Nation   
Thursday, 09 December 2004 02:50
New venues, an off-limits period and a bigger pay out mark a slate of changes in store for the 2005 Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup on ESPN2.

The choice of Mobile Bay, Alabama as the season?s inaugural venue is just one of the new fishing sites where anglers will test their skills.

That first tournament will kick off the schedule that looks like this:

? Qualifying Stop One: May 12-14, 2005 (Mobile, Ala.)
? Qualifying Stop Two: June 30 ?July 2, 2005 (Chalmette, La.)
? Qualifying Stop Three: August 25-27, 2005 (Lake Charles, La.)
? Qualifying Stop Four: September 8-10, 2005 (Clearwater, Fla.)
? Qualifying Stop Five: September 29 ? October 1, 2005 (South Padre, Texas)
? Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup Championship: October 20-22, 2005 (TBA)

In each of those events, anglers will be fishing for a piece of $130,000 in cash, with $40,000 going to the winners. Along with the cash purse, anglers will be fishing for points to qualify for the no-entry fee Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup Championship that will be held in a location to be announced at a later date.

Entry fees for each of the events is $1,000 per team. And for every event, there will be a five-day off-limits period. Official practice for each event will begin the Saturday prior to the start of each tournament, which begins on Thursday, giving anglers in the field five days of practice before each event.

"When we polled the fishermen last summer, more than 80 percent of our anglers voted for an off-limits period,?? said Mike McKinnis, producer of the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup. "The five-day off limits, virtually assures that once the practice period starts, everyone will be competing on a level playing field. And having five days off limits, along with the slate of other professional redfish events taking place next year, should ensure that no team will likely able to camp out at a location for an extended time.??

McKinnis said part of the five-day reasoning centered around the prevailing feeling that fishing conditions rarely stay consistent for more than three or four days. And a five-day off-limits period would help address that, while protecting the working relationships of in-shore guides in each venue.

The area of fishing water that each off-limits period will impact will be assessed for each venue. But the overall intent of the rule is to assure that anglers will not fish any water during the off limits period that they can return to during tournament competition.

"It would be nice to set a uniform 50-, 100- or 150-mile radius around each venue, but that?s unrealistic. It?s virtually impossible to set boundaries and enforce them in all areas,?? McKinnis said. "Each of the venues will have designated off-limits boundaries, but each of them will be different. But as an example, at Mobile Bay our radius can not feasibly expand to Venice, La. While it may be feasible for an angler to make that grueling trip, he won?t be able to fish in the Venice area during the off limits period and then return during the competition.??

Other changes include a shift in competition days from Friday through Sunday to Thursday through Saturday, with the competition hours for Thursday and Friday taking place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The final day?s competition (Saturday) will be from safe light to 3 p.m.

"The shift in tournament hours on the first two days is designed to better enable us to show off our anglers,?? McKinnis said. "Crowd response has been big for our events, but when we have weigh ins when kids are still in school and parents are just getting off work, there aren?t as many people who have the opportunity to show up to see our anglers.

"That is an important element in the growth of professional redfishing. When our professionals have an exceptional day on the water, we owe them the opportunity, as the heroes of redfishing, to show off their skills in front of as many spectators as possible. That?s the best way for kids and fans to get to know our heroes."

"This trend has started in the professional bass fishing world and been successful. It?s also interesting to note that almost every one of our events in 2004 was won after mid-day and not in the morning."

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