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Upstate anglers win Edisto Shootout

Second place team Ron and Caleb Davis from Edisto Island. Photo by  Jeff Dennis

Second place team Ron and Caleb Davis from Edisto Island. Photo by Jeff Dennis

Redfish are the most popular inshore saltwater species for anglers, and a new fishing tournament called the Edisto Shootout attracted 22 teams on May 18. Launching at the Dawhoo Bridge Landing that morning, the anglers fished in and around Edisto Island for redfish, before crossing the North Edisto for a weigh-in at Bohicket Marina. A pair of upstate anglers brought the heaviest redfish to the scales and won a Power-Pole anchor system for their boat, while a pair of Edisto anglers claimed second place.

The rules of the Edisto Shootout specify that two-man teams will compete, using only artificial lures to target redfish. No live bait or cut bait is allowed, which keeps the competition even. Only two redfish can be weighed in by any one team, and the fish must be kept alive in the baitwell in order to be released after the weigh-in. Fish are measured first to verify that they fit into the legal size to-keep slot limit, and then they are weighed in.

The nickname for the winning team is Slots and Shoulders, as in slot-size redfish and fish with ‘shoulders’ enough to fight hard. Craig Bradford of Edgefield and Todd Fusco of Simpsonville brought two redfish to the scales at Bohicket that measured 22 and 7/8 inches each. Keeping in mind that the slot limit is 15 to 23 inches for redfish, they were successful in catching two reds that were barely legal. The upside to larger-size redfish is that the combined weight of their fish was 8.07 pounds, good for first place.

Fishing in a 20 foot Ranger boat, Team Slots and Shoulders said that the redfish bite was good very early, but by 9:30 it had shut down. “We caught our redfish on Gulp baits, and this was our fist time fishing in the North Edisto River,” said Fusco. “Our boat does not have a Power-Pole yet, just a regular anchor and line, so this is a very useful first place prize for us,” said Bradford.

Finishing in second place was Team Too Sweet out of Edisto Island. The father and son team of Ron and Caleb Davis were fishing their home waters for the Edisto Shootout. Caleb attends CPA and was glad to work in some fishing before final exams. “We ran South today to St. Helena Sound, and fished some banks that were protected from the wind. It was blowing 15 to 20 miles per hour so that sort of muddied up the water for us,” said Davis

Fishing with Berkley gulp baits on flutter hooks, Team Too Sweet weighed in two redfish with a combined weight of 8.02 pounds, to narrowly miss taking the top spot. Colletonians are familiar with Team Too Sweet fishing in redfish tournaments, and the Edisto Shootout is the mid-season event for the Lowcountry Redfish Cup or LRC. The LRC has already fished two events in Charleston and Beaufort, and will fish two more events in Savannah on July 20 and Charleston on September 28.

A Championship event for the LRC will be held on November 9 to determine the overall winner of the 2013 LRC series. That winner takes home a boat, motor and trailer package put together by Butler Marine. The winner of the Edisto Shootout received an automatic invitation to fish in the November Championship, so Team Slots and Shoulders will have plenty of time to practice their redfishing techniques between now and then.

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com

Jeff Dennis, Contributor (392 Posts)

Jeff Dennis is a Lowcountry native. Read his blog at www.LowcountryOutdoors.com