Fred Myers and Jake Matney, both of Panama City, Fla., weighed in four redfish that totaled 28.38 pounds to win the IFA Redfish Tour Championship event at Chalmette on October 27.
To win the two-day event, which operated out of Gulf Outlet Marina, the pair topped a large field of other two-angler teams to take home a new, fully rigged Ranger 173 Ghost powered by a 115-horsepower, four-stroke Yamaha outboard and equipped with a Power-Pole shallow water anchor, Minn Kota trolling motor, Humminbird electronics, Blue Point Fabrication metal work, Bob’s four-inch Ultra Light Jackplate and a Loadmaster trailer valued at $36,000.
With the win, Myers claimed his third IFA Redfish Tour Championship, his first with Matney. Previously, Myers claimed championships in 2009 and 2011. Focusing their efforts on a wind-protected area near Venice that was discovered during last year’s event, Myers said the team made a 215-mile, roundtrip run each day.
“We knew it was going to be a light bite and the water was a little bit muddy and we blind cast a lot at home so we did that here,” Myers said. “We knew the fish were there.”
In addition to the Ranger 173 Ghost, Myers and Matney also won the $2,500 Cabela’s Angler Cash contingency award as well as $1,350 in Angler Advantage prize money.
Second-place finishers Joe Barcelona, of Slidell, La., and John Barcelona, of River Ridge, La., brought 27.57 pounds of redfish to the scales during the championship event, the results of sight fishing with Berkley Gulp! shrimp in the Venice area.
“We’re really blown away by our second-place finish,” Joe Barcelona said. “We didn’t expect to finish this high. The weights were lower this year than that year’s event and we thought it would take more weight to finish where we did.”
In addition to the second-place prize money of $5,895, Team Barcelona also pocketed $648 in Anglers Advantage money and took home the $1,500 Minn Kota contingency award.
The third-place team of Glenn Finley and Dodd Wood, both of Belton, S.C., weighed in 27.56 pounds during the Chalmette event, finishing 1/100th of a pound out of second place. This year marked the team’s second third-place finish in an IFA Redfish Tour Championship to go along with the team’s championship win in 2008. Also focusing their efforts in the Venice area, Finley and Wood made the 220-mile roundtrip run each day, landing all of their fish on jigs tipped with Berkley Gulp! baits.
“The second day of the tournament was extremely windy and that made the fish weights seem a little off from where they have been the other times we have fished here,” Finley said. “But we had a great week and can’t wait to do it again.”
Dwayne Eschete and Eddie Adams, who finished in fourth place, won the Cabela’s 2012 Team of the Year Award and took home $5,000 as well as the $750 Humminbird contingency award. Seventh-place finishers, Marty Simmons and Keith McBride, won the $950 Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award for their 7.88-pound redfish weighed in on the first day of the tournament.
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.
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, Livingston Lures and Gulf Outlet Marina.
Chalmette, La. (Top 10)
1. Myers/Matney – 28.38 lbs.
2. Barcelona/Barcelona – 27.57 lbs.
3. Finley/Wood – 27.56 lbs.
4. Eschete/Adams – 27.18 lbs.
5. Jernigan/Schurlknight – 27.14 lbs.
6. O’Connell/Lindheim – 27.11 lbs.
7. Simmons/McBride – 26.36 lbs.
8. Fryfogle/Turner – 25.55 lbs.
9. Lamb/Lamb – 24.86 lbs.
10. Reiser/Landry – 24.44 lbs.
Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award ($950):
Simmons/McBride (7.88 pounds)
Cabela’s 2012 Team of the Year ($5,000):
Cabela’s Angler Cash Award ($2,500):
Humminbird Award ($750):
Minn Kota Award ($1,500):
Image courtesy Inshore Fishing Association