Mike McDonald, of Sarasota, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 58.25 inches in length to win the first event of the season for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing at Placida, Fla. on March 17.
With two previous IFA Kayak Tour wins under his belt, McDonald fished the Coon Key area and with Berkley Gulp! and hardbaits. At first light, McDonald fished top-water baits and later transitioned to fishing jigs in mullet schools.
“It was overcast and the visibility was limited,” McDonald said. “But I was lucky and no other boats were on me and the fish were chewing.”
McDonald won $1,500 for first place, $500 in Angler’s Advantage cash and $200 for the Hobie Top Angler award for having the highest placed finish for an angler competing in a Hobie kayak.
Kasey Arrowsmith, of Apollo Beach, Fla., measured a 27-inch redfish and a 25-inch trout to win the $1,000 second-place prize. In his second season fishing the IFA Kayak Tour, Arrowsmith fished in the Tampa Bay and reported light winds and a slow tide.
“I fished potholes and mullet schools with Berkley Gulp! and top-water baits,” Arrowsmith said. “I’m extremely honored just to compete and placing second is just a bonus.”
Third-place finisher Doug Fisher fished in his home waters of Sarasota, traveling over two miles in his kayak. Fisher measured a combined 50 inches in length and took home a combined $688 for his two-fish limit.
Tenth-place finisher Jarred Komyati won the $100 Junior Angler award.
Travis Strammer won the $100 Berkley Redfish award, plus a $100 Cabela’s gift card, courtesy of Berkley, for catching his 34-inch redfish with Berkley bait.
The fastest-growing kayak fishing tournament trail in the country, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing events are catch-photograph-release tournaments, offering inshore kayak anglers from a multitude of states the opportunity to participate in competitive fishing tournaments with low entry fees and minimal travel requirements.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Cabela’s, Lucas Oil, Yamaha Outboards, RAM, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, Livingston Lures, Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Bob’s Machine Shop, Blue Point Fabrication, Powertex Group and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Gasparilla Marine.
IFA Florida West Division Placida, Fla. (Top 10)
- Mike McDonald – 58.25 inches
- Kasey Arrowsmith – 52.00 inches
- Doug Fisher – 50.00 inches
- Cameron Schurlknight – 49.625 inches
- John Lee – 48.75 inches
- Jared Tetreault – 47.75 inches
- Rusty Driver – 47.675 inches
- Drew Mixon – 46.50 inches
- Robert Brown – 45.75 inches
- Jarred Komyati – 45.00 inches
Image courtesy Blue Heron Communications