Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spots Are Available; Popular Event for Redfish Is Less Than Three Weeks Away

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Spots Are Available; Popular Event for Redfish Is Less Than Three Weeks Away

Article excerpt


The only scales you see at the Times-Union's eighth annual Redfish Roundup charity fishing tournament will be on the fish. And hopefully, a bunch of them will be dotted black.

It's nearly tournament time again - April 5 - for one of the First Coast's most popular fishing events, where the average Joes are every bit as likely to win as the angling pros. The format of the competition rewards "rounds" over pounds. The fish wearing the most black spots declared the winner, and size doesn't matter.

This unique twist to tournament fishing is why the Redfish Roundup consistently tops out at the 500-boat entry limit, according to Philip and Pat Mickler, tournament co-chairs. And this year will likely be no different. Counting the spots rather than the ounces has led the tournament in a special direction since it was first fished in 2001.

It has become more a family event than a competition, though any angling team would love to have the bragging rights of bringing in the "spottiest" fish. And that's especially true this year, as the first-place prize for the 2008 tournament has more than doubled in value. The winner will take home a Cobia bay boat with a 115-horsepower, 4-stroke outboard, trolling motor and power pole from Atlantic Coast Marine.

The event begins at Sister's Creek Marina on Friday, April 4 for a mandatory captain's meeting. That event includes an auction which features a power pole, a paid entry to the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, Ocean Waves sunglasses, Guy Harvey prints and Fenwick Elite Tech rods. There will be hundreds of raffle prizes as well. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be cooking on the grill.

And the 1,000-gallon traveling fish tank will be back again this year, along with a team of researchers from the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. As the multi-spotted fish come in, they'll be transferred into the glass-walled tank where spectators will have access to these genetic anomalies of the redfish world. But it's not just for show. The trip over from New Orleans gives researchers a pretty rare look into these fish whose DNA demands of them more than one spot per flank.

Of course, the Redfish Roundup has a no-kill format - anglers bringing in dead fish are penalized - and holding the fish in the tank actually strengthens them before their release back into the water. …

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