Better late than never
"They're not going to make it," said tournament director Bob Sealy, shaking his head. He was referring to Sam Bertha, Jr. and Gary McKenzie, who had yet to make it back to the check-in site and had only two minutes to spare. The group gathered on the dock, tensely searching the horizon for any sight of the anglers.
"If they're smart they'll come around that way, where you can go faster," said fellow angler C.A. Richardson, pointing in the direction of a zone that did not prohibit wake.
The clock wound down to only one minute. All of a sudden, a boat appeared in the distance.
"Is that them?" questioned Sealy anxiously as the boat drew nearer.
As the boat came into focus it became clear that it was indeed Bertha and McKenzie.
The boat closed in on the dock and the waiting crowd, literally bumping the pier just as the time expired. The crowd breathed a sigh of relief and began clapping wildly for the anglers, who would have been docked precious points for every minute they were late.
All Bertha and McKenzie could do was shake their heads and smile, relieved they had made it in time.
Comedy of Errors
Ken Chambers and John Merriwether were ecstatic to have made their first top five of 2007 at the final event of the year. But their day began rather inauspiciously and proceeded to go downhill from there.
They visited their first spot and realized to their dismay that the fish weren't biting. They immediately decided to head for their number two spot.
Unfortunately their progress came to a standstill when they ran up on an oyster bar and became stuck.
"We were panicking," said Chambers. "I was driving and I thought I'd ruined our chances of winning."
But quick thinking and some elbow grease from Merriwether managed to dislodge the boat before a substantial amount of time had elapsed. The team finally made it to their second spot and couldn't believe their good fortune when they discovered a substantial school of redfish.
A short time later they had hooked two perfectly slot-sized redfish that would land them in second place and put a fantastic finish on what had almost been a disastrous day.
"It was a circus out there," said Chambers.
The anglers of the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup are experts in getting fish to bite. But sometimes even they need a little extra help, and this weekend that came in the form of a local "secret sauce." Several of the anglers employed a technique similar to marinating a piece of meat, and their marinade of choice was none other than Carolina Lunker Sauce.
Anglers place their baits in a plastic bag filled with the sauce and leave it for several hours to allow the flavor time to sink in. The marinade, which comes in flavors like shrimp and crab, makes the bait smell good to fish and in theory entices the fish to bite. The technique worked for several of the anglers in the top five, and even prompted C.A. Richardson to call it his "ace in the hole" from the weigh-in stage.
Bill DeVault and his son Greg came into the final day of the Oh Boy! Oberto Redfish Cup in the lead and on a hot school of fish. But their bite finally cooled and the father/son duo were only able to bring in 7.39 pounds for a fifth place finish.
Apparently even the fish themselves had turned on the anglers, as one of their slot fish decided to take a bite out of Bill's hand from the stage. "I guess they're angry at you too!" laughed emcee Keith Alan.
"Go with what ya know."
Mike Friday from the weigh-in stage
"Winners never quit."
Quote displayed in the boat of Ken Chambers and John Merriwether
"I hope it fits!"
Mike Friday as he attempted to fasten his heavyweight All Star title belt around his oversize frame