LIZELLA, Ga. October 4, 2011 – Mike McDonald, of Sarasota, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 54.50 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing event at Ruskin, Fla., on October 2. The event, which operated out of Pirate’s Point Resort, was the last of three regular-season events for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour’s Florida West Division.
Fishing in and around the City Island and Tidy Island areas, McDonald targeted trout with top-water lures during the windy morning. By afternoon, McDonald used Berkley Gulp! baits around potholes to land his 32.50-inch redfish, the largest of the event. In addition to winning the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award and matching $100 Cabela’s gift card, also courtesy of Berkley, for catching the fish on Berkley Gulp!, McDonald also took home a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,499.
“I had to wait for the tide before I could find the redfish, but the whole day was awesome,” McDonald said. “I’m lucky that the fish cooperated.”
Second-place finisher, Then Lai, of Seminole, Fla., measured a 28.13-inch redfish and a 19.50-inch trout for a total length measurement of 47.63 inches to secure the $1,000 second-place prize. Fishing in and around the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, Lai landed his catch using top-water lures and jigs.
“It was a little windy first thing, but then the conditions calmed down and it was great for fishing,” Lai said. “I think I could’ve stuck it out a little longer and upgraded my fish, but I’m happy with the results.”
Third-place finisher, Logan Wongseprasert, of Valrica, Fla., won $500 for his redfish and trout, which measure a combined 47 inches, caught in the Weedon Island area.
“I found all of the redfish around schools of mullet in the grass flats,” Wongseprasert said. “When I followed the tide out into the bay I found all of my trout. Today turned out great.”
Fourth-place finisher, Jason Broach, won the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award for his 26.25-inch catch, plus an additional $200 in Hobie Kayak contingency money for being the highest-finishing angler to compete from a Hobie Kayak. Matt Harvel, who finished 13th, won the $100 Junior Angler Award.
Each of the Cabela’s IFA Redfish Tour 18 regular-season events will commence on Saturday with the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing contested the following day (Sundays). In its second season, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie will feature 18 regular-season, catch-photograph-release events across six different division (mirroring the IFA Redfish Tour format, location and scheduling) as well as extremely lucrative payouts and expanded fishing opportunities for non-motorized fishing crafts.
The redfish/trout tournament will pay twenty places (based on a 100-boat field) plus Big Redfish, Big Trout and Junior Angler Awards. The winner will take home a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler valued at $2,499, 2nd place prize will be a $1,000 and 3rd place $500 Hobie cash. New for 2011, kayak anglers can take advantage of the Angler’s Advantage program. Anglers who participate in the program can pay an additional $25 entry fee, which is paid back at 100 percent to participants, based on place of finish. Lucrative contingency programs added for 2011 include $50 prize to the team claiming the big fish award in an IFA Redfish Tour event if the fish is landed with an EGO Net, $25 prize for both the big redfish and big trout in IFA Kayak Fishing Tour events; a PENN reel for tournament-winning angler who competes with PENN reel; $250 prize to the winning team if both team members are signed up as an NBOA membership.
The IFA Redfish and IFA Kayak Fishing Tours continues to draw redfish anglers from Texas to the Carolinas and beyond, offering anglers the opportunity to compete in six different divisions, each offering a three-event regular season. Low entry fees for the one-day, regular-season tournaments allows anglers to fish close to home and minimize expenses, while still being a part of a premier inshore, catch-and-release redfish tournament organization. Teams fishing any three of the IFA’s 18 regular-season events are automatically qualified for a no-entry-fee championship event, pitting qualifiers from each of the six divisions for money and prize packages, as well as a shot at the coveted Overall Divisional Team of the Year Award for the six regular-season division winners.