Florida Lure Anglers
Waiving Tails Lead Hartley/Nobles to Victory
By Bob Morris
August 13, 2006
Fernandina Beach, FL
The Redfish Nation Series wrapped up the Eastern Division today with
Jacksonville locals Randy Hartley and JD Nobles taking the title with a two-day
total weight of 24.33 lbs.
Hartley and Nobles earned an entry into the tournament via their point
championship win in the inaugural Redfish Nation/Florida Lure Anglers Series
where the North Florida based club hosted a two-tournament circuit under Redfish
Cup rules. Local knowledge and the ability to adjust their game plan were the
keys to victory.
During this time of year in the Fernandina area higher than normal tides allow
redfish access to super shallow grassflats (that are normally high and dry)
where they aggressively feed on fiddler crabs and other small crustaceans. As
they burrow down to root out a meal, their tails will often break the surface
and wave an invitation to alert anglers who can easily target them.
According to Hartley, “We had some good low tide fish during practice and went
to them but things didn’t work out. We had one oversized and then the tide was
just rising higher and higher - we thought it may get high enough to flood the
flats so we went looking for some tails and found them!” Although it was not a
part of their original plan, they knew these fish were up shallow looking to
feed and caught a quick limit using tube jigs.
“Once we had two fish, we started counting several more tails but left them for
today,” said Nobles. “We went right back to the same flat and waited for the
tide to flood – once the water got up we saw the tails again and got our limit.”
Narrowly missing the win with a total of 24.26 lbs. was the husband and wife
team of Zack and Angel Isbell of Jacksonville. “On Saturday we hit some low tide
spots in the Amelia Island area with no luck so we ran back down south to the
St. John’s River for high tide and caught about 20 reds but we could only get 25
inchers,” said Zack.
On day-two, they went straight back to try their river spot at low tide and were
not disappointed. According to Angel, “We ran back and again threw Exude shrimp
and tube jigs. Today we were getting the fish that were closer to the 27” mark –
we had two by about 9:30 that we didn’t think we could upgrade so we ran back to
the dock and babied our fish until weigh-in. We just needed to step it up the
first day and we could have won.”
Completing the Florida Lure Anglers’ sweep of the “top 3” with 21.05 lbs. were
Jeff Pope and John Henninger. They were followed by Rick and Chris Walters
(19.36 lbs) in 4th place and Randy Hendrick and Brian Alderman (18.44 lbs)
rounded out the “top 5”. The Redfish Nation Championship will be held September
16-17 in Gulf Shores, AL.
See other tournament photos