Father-son Silverman team on top

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Shortly after moving here, post retirement from the corporate business world in New York, Ron Silverman became involved with raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He'd raised $1,000 for a child with CF to fish in the Mercury Redbone Lowcountry Red Trout Celebrity Classic in 2002.

Three weeks before the tournament, Ron got a call from his son, Steven, informing him that Steven's daughter had been diagnosed with CF.

"I still get chills when I say that," Ron Silverman recalled Saturday afternoon.

If nothing else, it was poetic justice that Ron and Steven Silverman would enjoy a great Saturday on the waters near Charleston in this event, which is now part of the ESPN Saltwater Series. The definition of great — 27 fish caught, 17 redfish and 10 sea trout. Their Day One point total of 2,650 points was boosted by the fact that Ron caught two on a fly rod, which were worth 150 points each, and eight on spinning tackle with an artificial lure, which were worth 75 points each.

Either species caught on bait are worth 50 points. There is a 100-point bonus for each redfish/sea trout "slam" after the first combo. The fish must meet the minimum length limit of 15 inches for sea trout and 18 inches for redfish to score points.

"It was a very good day of fishing," said Steven, a 41-year-old oral surgeon who lives in Flanders, N.J.

Steven caught 13 of the 27 fish, but all of his came on bait.

"My dad is a really good fly fisherman," Steven said.

And he had another compliment for his father, who will turn 70 years old in January.

"I was thinking on the way in, that when I'm 70, I don't know if I'm going to be able to make it out here," Steven said. "That ride through the harbor was pretty tough."

The Silvermans were guided by Chris Wilson, who led his team to victory in the 2002 Redbone Lowcountry tournament here.

After as much as seven inches of rain fell Friday in the Charleston area, none of the 31 teams could be certain of the fishing conditions to be found Saturday.

"There was perfect water clarity," said Wilson, who took the Silvermans on a 20-mile ride north to Bull's Bay. "The wind was in the right direction — everything was perfect."

Ron Silverman's two redfish on fly tackle came on a Ratz crab pattern. D.O.A. Shrimp were the artificial bait of choice. Wilson used cut mullet for his anglers when bait was required.

While the Silverman's enjoyed a great day, it wasn't much better than that of Ronnie and Jay Pitts, who were guided by Fred Rourk. They caught 26 fish — 17 sea trout and nine redfish — for a total of 2,575 points. All but three of those fish came on spinning tackle and artificial lures.

Three other teams posted four-digit point totals. Topping that group was the third-place team of John Lockhart and Matt Smallwood, guided by Ben Alderman, with 1,825 on a 22-fish day.

In the individual points race, Ron Silverman leads with 1,600 points, followed by Steven Silverman and Matt Smallwood, both with 1,050.

The tournament will conclude Sunday. The anglers will take off from Sea Breeze Marina at 8 a.m. and all lines must be out of the water by 3 p.m.