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Wednesday, October 21, 2009
A bit of bad news

By Capt. Bryan "Bear" Holeman
ESPNOutdoors.com

I'm going to have to skip what's working where this time to talk to you all about something near and dear to my heart that's now gone, the Redfish Cup.

It was a way of life for a lot of guys — myself included — and it just folded a week or so ago.

The Redfish Cup was in its seventh year and was just getting going and working out for a lot of us.

Lots of people depended on it for income and it was where the best redfish anglers in the world called home. There is no more single place that the top level anglers fish and travel to the best redfish waters.

There's confusion about what some folks are going to do because so many people invested so much time and money into a RFC career.

It was the last circuit of it's kind since the FLW Redfish tour and another one died off, so to see it gone leaves most of us to fish local events such as the IFAs. The smaller events can be harder in a way because you've got all the local boys on their turf and more boats because the entry fees are more modest.

I'm thinking the Flats Masters and the Redfish Elite Series are the way to go. Travis and I got a call from the Redfish Elite Series to fill in the 50-team limit. We'll see how that goes.

Probably the worst thing about this deal is that I won't get to see all the friends I made on the road at the RFC events. Seeing guys' kids grow up and hang out with them was part of the fun of the RFC. There was just as much camaraderie at the events as there was competition, which was a lot. I was pretty steamed when the announcement came down.

I guess the best thing that has come from this is that my girlfriend is happier because I'll be gone a lot less. I imagine I'll save some money on travel costs, too.

Oh, but that flew out the window today because my boat broke, again. Talk about kicking a man while he's down. I do have five years left on the motor, though.

I had one of my regular clients scheduled for today and sure enough the old outboard took a dump right there. I had to have a friend come and get me.

Actually, it was bound to happen; I had gone through tarpon season and a bunch of hard fishing, so it was about time. But that still doesn't mean it was convenient. I have another boat I need to work on for a friend, so I won't be completely off the water.

Sorry for forgoing the report for this week, but I felt I needed to talk about this since it was such a big part of my life, and now it's gone. I do have a little bit to share, though.

There have been reports of dolphin but not huge wads like there is supposed to be. I think it's still too hot for them.

There are also tuna swimming around in the same areas; the birds tell the story. If they're flying slow, they're over dolphin, and if they're really moving, they're on some tuna. Average size has been 14- to 15-pounds with some 25-pound studs mixed in.

Hello sushi dinner!

Editor's note: Capt. Bryan Holeman is a competitor on the Redfish Cup, and guides out of Key West, Fla. Known affectionately as "Bear," Holeman and his clients enjoy year-round success on the flats surrounding Key West, making his insight to flats fishing invaluable to anglers everywhere. Bear's goal with his blog is to inform, inspire and entertain with weekly updates detailing his activities, be it guiding or tales from the RFC tournament trail.