The HT3 Redfish Tournament made its debut in Charleston on July 18, 2009. Organizer Pat Malone drove up from Orlando, Florida with the big rig that converts to a stage complete with a digital weigh-in scale. The format of the tournament was very specific calling for one angler per boat, using only one line in the water at any time and only artificial baits were allowed. A fleet of fourteen boats, comprised mostly of local guides, met at Shem Creek Landing at 6 a.m. for the final instructions and a shotgun start. Fishing was completed by 3 p.m. and a brief but entertaining awards ceremony followed the weigh in. No redfish are killed during the HT3 tournament, which is modeled after freshwater bass tournaments that see live fish weighed in before large crowds. Competitors are allowed to weigh up to two redfish that are within the slot limit of 17 to 23 inches, with the heaviest combined weight determining the winner. The redfish proved to be finicky when presented with the artificial baits on tournament day (largely due to the copious amounts of live bait available in July) and only 6 anglers weighed in two fish. Captain Jody Tucker's two-fish total was 6.90-pounds - which was good for first place and the $1000 prize. Captain Ben Alderman finished in second place with a two-fish total of 5.88-pounds and a $300 prize, and Alderman said that he would be heading to Louisiana later in the week to fish another redfish event - so Lowcountryoutdoors.com wishes him good luck fishing down in the bayou!
Photos By Jeff Dennis: Captain Graham Hegameyr and HT3's Pat Malone are fired up at 6 a.m. in Shem Creek, Capt. Hegamyer and Pat show off Graham's 3.93-pound redfish that was good for 7th place overall - right behind Captain Tucker Blythe's 6th place finish, Captain Jody Tucker accepts his winner's check with a laugh from Pat Malone, The HT3 banner bills the tournament as a professional event for working anglers
Video: Captain Graham Hegamyer weighs in a redfish