Chandler Graves, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 46.38 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing event at Panama City Beach, Fla., on June 24. The event, which operated out of Bay Point Marina, was the last regular-season event for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour’s Gulf Coast Division.
Graves, who placed second in the season-opening event for the Gulf Coast Division at Port St. Joe, Fla., reported poor conditions due to a tropical storm.
“Tropical Storm Debby was off the coast,” Graves said. “Winds were up, tide was up, and the waves were up.”
The angler fished spoons, Gulp! and top-water baits in the Choctawhatchee Bay and attributes persistence as the key to his win.
“I have been close to taking first before,” Graves said. “I would throw, throw and throw, then get back to the start of the drift and repeat. I had a great time even with the miserable conditions.”
Graves capped his tournament by winning the $200 Hobie Top Angler Award for having the highest place finish for an angler competing in a Hobie Kayak.
Second-place finisher, Jason Davis, of Phenix City, Ala., measured a 24-inch redfish and a 19.88-inch trout to win the $1,000 second-place prize. In his second year fishing the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour, Davis fished grass flats with spoons, top-water baits and Gulp! jerk shads. Davis reported a tough day on the water due to the inclement weather.
“I was very surprised that the bite was as good as it was in lieu of the conditions,” Davis said. “I fished in the brunt of Tropical Storm Debby, but I was very pleased with my performance.”
Timothy Walker, of Fort Walton Beach, Fla., fought through the tough conditions to take home the third-place prize. The angler threw top-water baits and Gulp! swimbaits in Choctawhatchee Bay.
“I first spot I fished was nicer than I expected,” Walker said. “I managed to catch a redfish and trout there. I moved on to another spot, but it was windy and the waves were breaking everywhere. The third spot was just as bad, but I launched anyway and was able to improve my trout.”
Jeff Suber took fifth place overall and the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award for his 22-inch trout.
Ninth-place finisher Jimmy Haney’s 27-inch redfish won the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award plus a $100 Cabela’s gift card, courtesy of Berkley.
The eleventh-place finisher, Micha Mixon, won the $100 Junior Angler Award.
Each of the Cabela’s IFA Redfish Tour 12 regular-season events will commence on Saturday with the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing contested the following day (Sundays). The IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie will feature 12 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 plus Big Redfish, Big Trout and Junior Angler Awards with a total payout of $9,800 (based on a 100 boat field). The winner will take home a guaranteed Hobie Mirage Pro Angler valued at $2549, 2nd place is a guaranteed $1,000 Hobie Cash and 3rd place is a guaranteed $500 Hobie Cash. Hobie will be paying $200 to the highest angler fishing out of a Hobie kayak at each IFA event.
The IFA Redfish Tour continues to draw redfish anglers from Texas to the Carolinas and beyond, offering two-angler teams the opportunity to compete in six different divisions, each offering a two-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 two of the IFA’s 12 regular-season events and one regional event are automatically qualified for a no-entry-fee championship event, pitting qualifiers from each of the six divisions for a combined $118,450 in payouts and prize packages, as well as a shot at the coveted Cabela’s Overall Divisional Team of the Year Award for the six regular-season division winners.
The fastest-growing kayak fishing tournament trail in the country, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing offers inshore kayak anglers from a multitude of states the opportunity to participate in competitive fishing tournaments. With low entry fees and minimal travel requirements, kayak anglers competing in the catch-photograph-release tournaments can take advantage of the numerous money and product prizes awarded to competitors. First-place prize for each regular-season event of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing, regardless of field size, is a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak valued at $2,549. Second and third place finishers are awarded cash prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, the fastest-growing inshore fishing tournament series in the United States, go online to www.redfishtour.com or www.ifakayakfishingtour.com. To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to www.hobiefishing.com.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of the fishing industry’s most respected brands: Ranger Boats, Hobie Fishing, Cabela’s, Yamaha Outboards, Gulp!, Gulp! Alive, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Sebile, Columbia Sportswear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, , Wrap This, Blue Point Fabrication, 321fish.com, Loadmaster, NBOA Marine Insurance, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Bay Point Marina.
IFA Gulf Coast Division
Panama City Beach, Fla. (Top 10)
1. Chandler Graves – 46.38 inches
2. Jason Davis – 43.88 inches
3. Tim Walker – 43.68 inches
4. Scott Harper – 42.25 inches
5. Jeff Suber – 41.00 inches
6. Drew Mixon – 41.00 inches
7. Vlad Moldoveanu – 39.75 inches
8. Jeffery Russell – 38.68 inches
9. Jimmy Haney – 27.00 inches
10. Benton Parrott – 23.50 inches
$100 Berkley GULP! Big Redfish Award plus $100 gift card to Cabela’s:
$100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award:
$200 Hobie Top Angler Cash Award:
Jr. Angler Award $100:
Image courtesy Inshore Fishing Association