ISLAMORADA, Fla. Exhibiting solid teamwork, Randy Frick and Jim Bokor Jr. executed perfectly Sunday to wrap up the team division championship at the Redbone Celebrity Tournament. Both were able to land each of the targeted species bonefish and redfish but Frick outpointed Bokor Jr. and took the individual award for grand champion.
It was the first time Frick had entered this tournament and was only the ninth day the Houston, Texan had fished in the Keys. And with a 41-team field sprinkled with anglers who regularly fish the Keys, Frick certainly wasn't a prohibitive favorite. Still, the 50-year-old made all the right moves Sunday.
"The last two hours of fishing today were the most exciting time that I ever had fishing in my life," Frick said. "We were in the right spot and I just had luck on my side. I needed it. What a great day."
Frick and Bokor Jr., who lives in Buffalo, N.Y., were guided by Capt. Richard Black. Black, an Islamorada-based 20-year-old guide, had the magic touch. Guiding ever since it was attainable, Black showed the moxie of a Keys veteran in piloting the winning team. After a slow morning and bouncing around to a few unproductive spots, Black moved to a spot in a channel were fish were schooling.
Around noon, the bite turned on for both competitors and Bokor cashed in with a bonefish while Frick boated three bones. Bokor had three reds Saturday with Frick only netting one. Bonefish are worth more points which allowed Frick to outscore Bokor by just 25 points.
With the windy conditions, both competitors slowed down and soaked their baits, sometimes for as much as a half-hour. Bokor said sightfishing was virtually impossible due to the windy conditions.
"You do what you have to do in weather like this," said Bokor. "It was extremely tough and the water was muddy. There was zero visibility. We didn't have much of a choice today so you just had to leave that bait in the water."
It was quite a surprise when Frick landed his first bone within seconds of his bait hitting the water. Then, he landed his other two within a 15-minute time frame. He matched the three bones with one red to complete his slam. While Joe Viar of Louisiana actually accumulated more points (625) and nailed two slams, he couldn't win the event because his partner didn't register a fish. The Redbone rules call for both members of a team to land a fish in order have a shot at the awards.
Bokor had his opportunities to one-up Frick but struggled Sunday. He lost a bone at the boat and another one immediately after hooking it. The one bone he did land came at 2:49 p.m., just 11 minutes before anglers had to stop fishing.
The team of Cal Collier Jr. and Sr., who led Saturday, slipped to runner-up with 500 points.
The Redbone Celebrity Tournament is the pinnacle event of the Redbone Series. The Redbone, founded by Gary Ellis, is focused on its mission to "catch the cure" for Cystic Fibrosis. Coverage of this event will be aired in April 2010 on ESPN2.