Anglers cast money into local economy while reeling in prize fish

By Toni Miles - bio | email

D'IBERVILLE (WLOX) - 49 of the world's best angler teams are battling it out in South Mississippi waters in the 'Oh Boy: Oberto Redfish Cup Championship.' It's the first time the nationally acclaimed event has been held in Mississippi.

The anglers are also casting their money into the local economy. Friday marked day one of the championship tournament, but the anglers have already dropped a trail of money in their wake.

"We've gone to Academy Sports, and spent a lot of money there. We've had a lot of fun eating different sushi at the different restaurants around town and sampling some of the steakhouses at the casinos," said angler Kris Walter.

"Fortunatley, we've got some good sponsors, but I would say anywhere from $3,000 to $4,000 a week. We usually bring two boats to every venue, two trucks, two hotel rooms, etcetera. It adds up," said Capt. Randy Hendrick.

And their contributions can only help in today's struggling economy.

"I'd say on average, when we come to town, you know between gas money and the trucks, and the boats, and everything else, it's nothing to drop between $3,500 and $5,000 for an event, just in expenses, and that's not including gambling," Walter said.

And some of these anglers have taken time out to try their luck outside the water.

"We've had some good luck and some bad luck. Fishing's been great, gambling hasn't been so friendly to us," Walter said.

South Mississippi is a new venue for these anglers, but it's one that has them hooked so far.

"For the most part, I will definitely be back and would recommend anyone else to fish here. The fishing's incredible," Captain Hendrick said.

All of the teams hope to get a big return on this weekend's tournament though by snagging the $50,000 grand prize and earn the bragging rights as the 2008 Redfish Cup Champions.