Another 1-2-3 Finish for HPX Mirages at SLAM 2011!

Tournament Tails // October 3, 2011

A classic summer weather pattern dominated the atmosphere at Key West’s first leg of the Redbone Celebrity Series Trilogy, the SLAM. Early afternoon storm development forced all teams to squeeze in scoring damage before the thunderheads matured and the lights went out.

For the third consecutive year, Mo Smith from Cordova, TN emerged as Grand Champion, but this time not without significant drama. Ross Reeder, the new main angler on the team of Capt. Dave Denkert and Wade Davis, caught 3 bonefish, 2 tarpon and a permit on Saturday with Davis (owner of Image Graphics) adding 6 bonefish and a tarpon, good for a team total of 1,300 points. Smith, accompanied by his son Parker had slammed with 3 bones, 2 tarpon and 1 permit for a team posting of 600 points.

In the intricate Redbone scoring system, the winning angler comes from the team with the highest amount of aggregate points. That angler must also have the required species, or at least more species than the next competitor. Both teammates are not required to catch a fish.

After Day One, Mo was behind by 700 points, or the equivalent of 7 fish on bait. He needed a miracle on Day Two to defend his SLAM title. Two tarpon in the first hour of Sunday morning helped to get that MO-mentum going. A lone 25 pound tarpon rolled fifty feet away from the bow on the very next flat, and Smith picked him off on fly for double points. Only several yards away, a 20 pound permit floated across some light colored bottom and tailed on a crab that just happened to be attached to Mo’s 12 pound test spinner.

Because of 300 bonus points for each additional slam, This was a 400 point immediate advance forward. Only a minute after a photograph and release, another permit of equal size cruised nearly the same course, with the same 400 point outcome, ending up in the net. As we poled to exit the spot, a tarpon passed to our 3 o’clock, gulped the crab and somehow stayed hooked on the 12 pound mono with no shock leader.

Over the next few hours, Mo added two more bonefish to complete a timely double slam with his pair of extra tarpon, one on fly. Reeder’s team added 7 more bones and a tarpon for 2,100 points. Mo had also reached 2,100 points. Ties are resolved by awarding the victory to whoever caught the last fish first. Mo had eeked out this come from behind championship by a mere one hour! Smith also took home honors for : Most Permit Releases (with 3), Most Tarpon Releases (with 6), and High Point Day Two for his double Grand Slam. Third Place went to Dave Collier who landed 2 bonefish, one permit and one tarpon all on fly with Capt. Just Rea.

Also with Capt. Rea, Dave’s brother Cal Collier Jr. out specied the field and caught 1 bonefish, 1 permit and 2 tarpon at Friday’s one day Superfly SLAM, a fly event that restricts your selection to a single pattern only. A small tarpon threw the hook only feet from the boat, forcing Mo Smith to finish Second with 2 bonefish and 3 permit. Smith’s 3 permit were taken on 3 consecutive shots within a 55 minute period!