The Louisiana Saltwater Series Redfish Series Championship was held at Venice Marina in Venice, Louisiana on Friday, October 18 and Saturday, October 19. When it was all said and done, Sean O’Connell and Bruce Lindheim took home $5,960 and bragging rights as the Champions of the 2013 LASS Redfish Series with a two-day total weight of 36.29 pounds.
The Championship is a two-day tournament, with a two-fish total weight per day to determine the winner. There’s no entry fee, and there’s a guaranteed hefty paycheck for the top finishing team. In order to compete in the Louisiana Saltwater Series Championship, teams must either have a finish within payout in one of the six qualifying events or compete in at least four of the six qualifying events over the course of the year.
A total of 58 teams qualified to participate in the Championship event for 2013.
On day one of the Championship 39 teams took to the waters to begin their hunt for a chance to take home first place. At the end of the weigh-in, 59 live redfish were brought to the scales, and Nash Roberts, IV, and Luke Landry stood in first place with a two-fish total weight of 18.47 pounds.
The awards banquet wrapped up a great day on Friday on the water, with dinner provided by Venice Marina and beverages by Coors Light and Tito’s Vodka. Dinner was followed by the recognition of the LASS Youth of the Year, Christopher McElveen and the LASS Team of the Year, Steve Smith and John Garrison.
At the start of day two, 26 teams blasted off in hopes of catching two fish that would give them the winning two-day total. Teams began weighing in at 1 p.m., and Brandon Treadaway and Kevin Bergeron kicked things off with a two-fish total weight of 18.64 pounds, with one fish weighing in at 10.3 pounds!
The LASS also recognized its 2013 Youth Champion, Drake Garrison, who had a two-day total weight of 13.72 pounds. Youth participants weigh in one redfish per day, competing against one another in a youth-only category.
The LASS is a catch, tag and release tournament, ensuring that nearly 100 percent of the fish caught in this tournament survive and later provide valuable data to the Department. It provides LDWF a great platform and opportunity to showcase its fisheries management efforts and public programs to thousands of people. Since the tournament’s inception, a total of 3,112 fish have been tagged and released through the tournament series since its inception in 2010. Of the 3,112 tagged fish, 2,858 were redfish.
To further encourage tag and release numbers, teams were allowed to bring in extra fish, earning them entries into drawings for special prizes provided by tournament sponsors. Michael McElveen, Rob Folsom and Christopher McElveen brought in the most extra fish throughout the six redfish season events with a total of 43 fish.
Tournament sponsorship support includes Shimano, PowerPro, Coors Light, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Daybrook Fisheries, Omega Protein, Plaquemines Parish Tourism, Dockside Marine, Mercury, Conservation Force, SeaTow, Standard Mapping, Marsh and Bayou Magazine, Faux Pas Prints, Swamp Swatter, Frabill, Stick It Anchor Pins, YETI Coolers and Krispy Kreme Donuts.
The Louisiana Saltwater Series is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation was formed to provide a means for individuals and corporations to become partners with the Department and Commission in the challenge of conserving Louisiana’s wildlife and fish resources.
Images courtesy Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries