By MIKE HODGE
RUSKIN, Fla. — They came, they saw, they won a tournament and they made history. All in one day.
Bradenton-area resident Chris Hargiss and his teammate, Mani Pailer, dominated the 2014 Salty Fly with a back-to-basics approach. Others poled their way into position and threw from the bow with long presentations and sexy patterns. However, Hargiss caught his fish on foot with the simplest of flies — the Bendback.
That traditional saltwater standby led to a three-fish total of 83.25 inches, a Salty Fly record, just ahead of second-place Kapers Murph (80.1) and third-place Leigh West and Jay Wright, who amassed 77 inches.
The tournament format called for two redfish and a trout — total inches, photo release, fly only. Hargiss, a Palm Harbor native, won $1,500, which he split with Pailer.
The two fish together often, so Saturday they decided to work close to their home waters in Sarasota. Efficient and effective, they hustled back to tournament headquarters more than an hour before the deadline, which meant a long wait before the official results were announced.
“It was one of those days where everything lined up perfectly,” Hargiss said. “It shows that if you put in enough time, you’ll catch the fish you’ve been looking for. It was just a good day of fishing.”
All of the winning quarry were sight fished, a style of angling Hargiss honed while owning a kayak for several years before buying a Hell’s Bay skiff several months ago.
“(A kayak) makes you dial in on fish,” Hargiss said. “You don’t want to spend your whole day paddling and expending energy to find fish. You learn to pick your tides, the weather and the time of year for different flats. It makes you hone in on the finer points.”
Hargiss, 27, wasn’t the only angler celebrating Saturday evening. Murph was the first solo angler in Salty Fly history to place, and West and Wright were the first team to pull off multiple top-three finishes. The pair took third in 2012.
|7||Fly4Fishing||Hargiss, Chris||Pailer, Manfred||83.250|
|98||Team Solo||Murph, Kapers||80.100|
|19||Osmotic Pressure||West, Leigh||Wright, Jay||77.000|
|43||RCI Optics||Lau, Honson||Le, Willy||73.500|
|21||*Tailing Loop||Elkins, Bryan||Elkins, Susan||72.750|
|91||*Cirrhosis of the River||Kline, Eddie||Phillip, Tim||71.750|
|15||Hung Over Sleeping||Chouinard, Dave||Hane, Colby||68.000|
|75||Raw||Dawson, Brian||Shapiro, Aaron||67.250|
|17||Green Flash||Brue, Jeff||Forde, Doug||63.000|
|18||Hurrah||Dean, Marcus||McClendon, Fred||60.250|
|84||CaptJared.com||Simonetti, Jared||Costello, Anthony||60.250|
|62||Flatz Slobz||Angelo, Nick||Chamberlin, Bryon||58.500|
|41||Wang||Wilson, John||Tylisz, Tom||57.500|
|31||Redzone||Rylard, Alan||Vidal, Pepi||49.000|
|55||Carbon Islamorada||Parker, Steven||Bandlow, Kelly||47.160|
|70||Don’t Hate||Maher, Tommy||Riordan, Jay||47.000|
|24||Hells Bay Boatworks||Dierlam, Chris||Hall, Brian||44.500|
|36||Blackbeard||Ravelo, Chris||Wior, Mike||42.750|
|99||The Smithereens||Smith, Kevin||Smith, Ron||42.000|
|37||Good Old Biggins||Clarkson, Jon||Rutledge, James||41.000|
|27||BARFLYZ||Harrell, Jeff||Redfish, Ryan||40.750|
|8||Imperial Polk County||Palen, Walt||Slager, Joshua||40.250|
|88||Tie one on||Costa, Jared||0||39.000|
|92||Win Knot||Hoffner, Alec||Marcey, Brian||38.500|
|78||Team Cayo||Harrington, Ryan Capt.||Smith, JB||29.000|
|87||Backwater Creations||Roberts, Brenton||Ferrell, Stephen||27.000|
|14||Black Fly||Curley, Ryan||Dumas, James||23.000|
|44||Team Maverick||Johnson, Charlie||Yergens, Christian||22.500|
|52||BackCountry||Summers, Cas||Triano, Phil||22.000|
|82||Release Marine||Kurth, Benjamin||Oxnard, Brendan||22.000|
|35||El Dub||Gaines, Barrett||Kincaid, Chris||21.000|
|25||Omni||Hippler, Travis||Norman, Matt||20.000|
|48||Fin and Feather||Miller, Ryan||Wilson, Brent||18.500|
|59||Kamchatka Survivors||Hermann, Jared||Knowles, James||16.500|
|45||Tampa Bay Sight Fishing||Reckenwald, Tom||Mead, Blake||15.000|
|30||Prestige Worldwide||Maitland, Josh||Osgood, Richard||14.500|
|56||Sofa King Good||Diez, Dan||Vaccaro, Matthew||14.500|