By DAVID A. BROWN
Published February 25, 2007
Event winners: John Henninger of Jacksonville and John Eggers of Jacksonville Beach caught a six-redfish total of 37 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series Eastern Division tournament Saturday at Coachman Park in Clearwater. For their efforts in the season-opening event, the two received $50,000, which included $25,000 in tournament earnings and $12,500 in contingency bonuses from Yamaha and Ranger. "This is the most unbelievable feeling I think I've ever had," said Eggers, who has been fishing redfish tournaments for about eight years. "I've won before, but nothing of this magnitude. This is just great." The team went 65 miles to Sarasota, where they found a group of redfish. "We knew where they were staging in this little spot between two sandbars," Eggers said. "They were just sitting in there with the mullet. We backed way off of them and made really long casts because they were really spooky." After the long, bumpy run, the anglers found that their trolling motor didn't work. Henninger poled the boat each time they needed to reposition.
The two competed against 124 other teams Thursday and Friday to qualify for Saturday's five-team final.
Rest of the best: Brothers Cody and Kyle Chivas finished second with 34 pounds, followed by the husband-wife team of Troy and Jill Sapp, who took third with 31 pounds, 7 ounces.
David A. Brown covers area fishing tournaments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org FLW Outdoors contributed to this report.