It might have been a typical day in the redfish world for Thomas Barlow and Glenn Vann, but several things they did stood out on Day 1 of the Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup presented by Skeeter.
The team from east Texas had an interesting double, a unique cork and rattletrap technique, and two of their fish weren’t even hooked.
Yes, there were some fantastic occurrences that impressed saltwater expert Capt. Rick Murphy, who’s serving as color analyst on Bassmaster Redfish Live. Barlow and Vann weighed in 15 pounds even to hold second place, just one ounce back of Ricky Bort and Mark Menendez.
“Barlow is pulling double duty, netting and fighting a fish at the same time,” Murphy said on Live, watching in amazement as Barlow put his rod in a rodholder to net Vann’s fish. “That’s a gutsy move.”
Barlow later said on stage that they thought Vann’s fish was the larger of the two, so they wanted to bring it in first to fill their two-fish limit. But Vann’s fish weighed 6 ½ or so, smaller than the 7 ¼ Barlow reeled in moments later.
“His looked bigger,” said Barlow, who kept watch on his rod to make sure tension was kept on his fish. “If it didn’t work out, we would have looked like fools.”
Watch their double here.
Murphy also commented that he hadn’t seen their reverse rigging of a popping cork. They turned it around so it would slip through the water while holding their rattletrap 6 to 8 inches under water and off the bottom. The team said that’s been a staple around Galveston for years.
“We’re basically just using the cork to suspend that rattletrap,” Vann said. “The idea is to keep that rattle trap above the oyster shells.”
The team was targeting schools of 10 to 15 redfish, as well as the happenstance single, in shallow water, and they needed to keep their treble hooks from being fouled on grass.
“If you’re pulling it along, you stop it, it moves a little bit and that gets that fish’s instinctive strike to eat it,” Barlow said.
Barlow then offered a lesson on the tenacity of redfish’s feeding habits. It’s not unheard of to reel in a bass and find it’s not hooked, but it’s a rarity for sure. Barlow and Van had two redfish on the day hold onto their rattletraps without being hooked.
“They had the rattletrap in their mouth, but it was just closed,” he said. “They just held on.”
Vann said they physically had to open the mouths and pull out their lures, but none of the six hooks stuck skin.
“They get that rattletrap wedged in their mouth,” Vann said. “That fish doesn’t know to open its mouth while you’re fighting it.”
Sounds like Homer Simpson when his hand got stuck in the soda machine and simply had to let go of the can.
The team scouted the entire fishery boundaries for this event, and said their best area are flats on the western end of Corpus Christi Bay. They boasted they can fish in the skinniest of water with Barlow’s boat, a 25-foot Haynie Magnum that Vann designed. It can run in 8 inches of water.
High winds topping 30 mph forecast for Day 2 might ruin those plans. Depending on tidal movement combining with winds that might blow water out, Barlow said they might not be able to get back to their schools. With a decent limit, the team headed in early and did some scouting, but Vann admitted plan B would be “to just go grind on them.”
Maybe they can come up with some more circus tricks as they vie for the $50,000 first prize.