Results in Announcement of 5 Year Partnership with St. Tammany.

The championship round of the 2012 Academy Sports and Outdoors HT Professional Redfish series was held in Slidell Oct. 11-13, 2012, with 32 teams vying for top honors and big prizes. The prestigious tournament was hosted by the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission out of The Dock at Slidell. The anglers enjoyed St. Tammany hospitality with a Captain’s Dinner at the Northshore Harbor Center, a Fisherman’s Feast at the Dock at Slidell with music from the Red Fish Blues Band, a wine tasting at Pontchartrain Vineyards and shopping excursion for their spouses, and a Top Ten Winner’s Dinner at Todd Schaeffer’s in Slidell.

The HT Redfish Series attracts some of the nation’s top anglers. This year’s teams included fishermen from Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina vying in a series of tournaments for the right to fish in the finale. “The HT Series finale is an opportunity to show anglers from around the country that St. Tammany Parish is a fishing destination with fun for the whole family and an exciting culinary scene,” said Donna O’Daniels, President and CEO of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission. “Louisiana is home to the best saltwater fishing in North America, but Slidell with its hospitality makes it the crowned jewel,” she continued.

The three-day tournament culminated Saturday with Madisonville, LA native Dwayne Eschete and his partner Clark Jordan from Texas winning Team of the Year for the second year in a row. Sean Vallandingham and Ryan Tiernan from Georgia celebrated their first professional win with the Championship title and $25,000 in cash prizes.

"The HT Redfish Fishing Tournament and St. Tammany Parish make a great team. St. Tammany Parish is the perfect venue for competitive fishing tournaments. This successful tournament shows that our Parish's waters truly are a Sportsman's Paradise," said Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President. "There were many winners this weekend at the tournament, but the biggest winner was St. Tammany Parish. We look forward to hosting events like this for years to come.”

A President’s Cup fishing tournament hosted by Brister was also held Saturday, with Duplantis Design Group taking home the bragging rights and President’s Cup trophy. Duplantis’s selected charity, The Covington Food Bank, was the recipient of the $4,400 in entry fees from the tournament.

Adding to the festive atmosphere at the HT Redfish Series finale were children's events hosted by St. Tammany Parish and Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. Wish to Fish helped children learn to identify fish and cast a line. Live music from Christian Serpas and Ghost Town entertained all, while giveaways courtesy of CCA let the public take home rods, reels, and lures.

Don Dubuc, host of "The Louisiana Outdoors," announced the winners live on WWL 1350 when the big HT Series Championship weigh-in took place at 3pm, and commented, “Over the past 25 years I've covered hundreds of Gulf Coast fishing contests and without a doubt I've never seen one planned so well and that plan play out so well as the HT Redfish Series event in Slidell.”

HT Series President Pat Malone introduced each of the anglers, many of whom thanked the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission and Slidell for the red carpet hospitality provided to them during the tournament."Having the HT Redfish Series Finale in St. Tammany Parish was a fabulous, one-of-a kind experience,” said HT Redfish Series President Pat Malone. “Our anglers rated the event a 20 on a scale of 1-10. Not only did our guys experience amazing fishing in St. Tammany, they got a taste of the wonderful food and hospitality Louisiana is known for. Our anglers loved Slidell.”

The positive experience led to the announcement this week of a 5 year partnership between the HT Series, Slidell and the St. Tammany Parish Tourist Commission for the finale festivities, during which Malone conveyed plans to grow the event into, “The biggest show in red fishing.” World Fishing Network will be airing an episode about the HT Redfish Series Finale in Slidell in the near future.

“The long term goal is to build the most lucrative redfish tournament championship in history and we feel Pat Malone and HT3 Outdoors is well on their way to that already,” stated Donna O'Daniels, President and CEO of the St. Tammany Parish Tourist and Convention Commission. “This is a win-win partnership on all counts and we are committed to helping achieve that goal while highlighting the incredible sport fishing St. Tammany has to offer.”

For more information on the HT Redfish tournament, visit www.theredfishseries.com
For more on Slidell and St. Tammany Parish’s fishing scene, visit www.fishthenorthshore.com