As if overcoming a field full of pro redfish anglers wasn’t enough, Lance Reynolds also beat back Mother Nature to win the Yellowfin Elite Redfish Series’ Mississippi Major last weekend in Gulfport.
Fishing in conditions so rough that tournament organizers had to move the Day 2 and Day 3 launches and check-ins across state lines to Slidell, La., Reynolds managed a three-day total of 82.91 pounds that included a final-day catch of 27.5 pounds.
That was just enough to hold off Nicky Savoie, a former tight end for the New Orleans Saints, who took second with 81.91 pounds, exactly one pound behind the champion. Savoie had 27.84 on the final day.
The two Louisiana anglers, Reynolds from Cut Off and Savoie of Lockport, know each other well. They fish several team redfish events together, but the Yellowfin events are one-man, one-boat tournaments.
The Mississippi Major is one of seven stops on the 2015 Yellowfin Elite Redfish Series, and was hosted by Island View Casino in Gulfport. The field included 42 fishermen who were allowed to weigh their best three redfish. Fish caught in Mississippi waters could be as large as 30 inches, but fish caught in Louisiana could not exceed 27 inches.
Despite the move to Louisiana, both Reynolds and Savoie produced a 9-pound average. Most fishermen in the field were making long runs to the marshes around Delacroix and Venice in extreme southeastern Louisiana.
Reynolds, who broke down in tears on stage after the final weigh-in while talking about the recent passing of his grandfather, earned a Yellowfin boat and motor package worth $75,000 in the highest paying event on the Yellowfin Redfish Elite Series — a total purse far exceeding $100,000.
Savoie pocketed $14,000 in cash.
The next stop for the tour will be the Yellowfin Elite Series Lafourche Open in Leeville, La., July 9-11. The series is broadcast on Discovery Network’s Destination America Channel as part of The Redfish Series with Pat Malone show. The Mississippi Major will be episodes 7 and 8 of the program, and expected to begin airing June 27.
Here is list of the top 10 places paid for the Mississippi Major held at Island View Casino.
1st Place - Lance Reynolds - $78,000
2nd Place - Nicky Savoie - $14,000
3rd Place - Shane Pescay - $12,000
4th Place - Travis Land - $10,500
5th Place - Paul Dufrene - $5,000
6th Place - Michael Frenette - $3,500
7th Place - Trent Brady - $3,000
8th Place - Bo Favre - $2,800
9th Place - Chad Billiot - $2,600
10th Place - Mark Sepe - $2,500