Winner tops field of 67 anglers to take home a total of $1,700 in cash and prizes
John Kay, of Port Aransas, Texas, caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 51.75 inches in length to win the first event of the season for the Louisiana Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing at Empire, La., on May 19.
Kay, former second-place finisher at the Port Aransas event in 2011, fought high winds, fishing Berkley Gulp! and top-water baits. The angler’s 39.75-inch redfish won the $100 Berkley Big Redfish award, plus a $100 gift card to Cabela’s, courtesy of Berkley.
Steve Neece, of New Orleans, La., measured 51.50 inches in length to take home the $1,000 second-place prize. A former IFA Kayak Tour winner at Delacroix, Neece added $541 in Angler’s Advantage cash and also won the $200 Hobie Top Angler award for having the highest placed finish for an angler competing out of a Hobie kayak.
After two slow days of pre-fishing in the Boras area, Neece made the decision to change locations.
“I didn’t do too good during my practice days due to dirty water,” said Neece. “I made the decision to run to Grand Isle after the captain’s meeting. It felt good to catch the two fish that I did, but I did not think it was good enough to win.”
Taking part in his first ever IFA event, Casey Brunning, of Madisonville, La., measured a 26.26-inch redfish and a 20.25-inch trout to win third place. The angler added $259 in Angler’s Advantage cash to take home a total of $759 for his efforts.
The angler fished top-water baits, spoons and flukes along points and cuts in the Delacroix area. Despite unexpected fishing conditions, the angler made the most of his first IFA event.
“It was windy with dirty water,” said Brunning. “For the weather and lack of tidal range and this being my first IFA event, I am pleased with my results. The experience has been great and I look forward to future events.”
Marty Moody failed to boat a redfish but won the $100 Big Trout award, plus a $100 gift card to Cabela’s, courtesy of Berkley, for his 21-inch trout.
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, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, Bob’s Machine Shop, Blue Point Fabrication, Powertex Group and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and The Delta Marina.
IFA Kayak Louisiana Division
Empire, La. (Top 10)
- John Kay – 51.75 inches
- Steve Neece – 51.50 inches
- Casey Brunning – 50.88 inches
- Brendan Bayard – 46.50 inches
- Devon Beltz – 46.50 inches
- Brandon Barton – 45.00 inches
- Ben Roussel – 43.00 inches
- Jeff Russell – 42.00 inches
- Perry Watts – 41.88 inches
- Matthew Vann – 41.75 inches
Image courtesy Blue Heron Communications