Victory includes fully-rigged Ranger Banshee Extreme valued at $30,000
Steven Nick, of Lacombe, La., and Matthew Whitman, of Metairie, La., weighed in a two-redfish limit that totaled 16.76 pounds to win the first event of the season for the Louisiana Division of the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Cabela’s in Empire, La. on May 18. The anglers topped a field of 68 boats to take home a fully-rigged Ranger Banshee Extreme, valued at $30,000.
Closely contested, the event’s top six finishing teams were separated by less than a pound of fish. Second and third places were decided by only one-hundredths of a pound.
The winning anglers sight-fished with gold spoons in the Delacroix area, traveling over 50 miles each way.
“The water was high and very clean,” said Nick. “We got to fish against the best anglers in the country and came out on top. The IFA put on a great event and we are looking forward to the next one.”
Despite fishing in their first IFA event and fighting boat problems most of the day, the anglers were happy with the outcome.
“We did have a little boat issue,” said Nick. “We hit a hard wave going fast and the steering wheel broke loose. It took two people to steer all day but we had a blast.”
Josh Romig, of Harahan, La., and Paul Swett, of Ponchatoula, La., brought 16.59 pounds to the scales to take home the $2,665 second-place prize. The anglers nearly doubled their winnings with an extra $2,535 in Angler’s Advantage cash.
“The low water made the fishing tough,” said Romig. “We had a great time and enjoyed the whole experience.”
IFA veterans Chad Dufrene, of Purvis, La., and Barnie White, of Brewton, Ala., placed third in the event with a 16.58-pound bag. The team caught their limit on Berkley Gulp! in the Delacroix area.
Fourth-place finishers John Stubbs and Clarence Breland brought in the heaviest redfish and won the Berkley Gulp! Big Fish award for their 8.93-pound lunker.
Continuing to draw inshore anglers from Texas to the Carolinas, both IFA Redfish Tours include five different divisions, each with a two-event regular season. With budget-friendly entry fees, the two tours offer opportunities to compete close to home while keeping anglers’ expenses to a minimum.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com.
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 Louisiana Division
Empire, La. (Top 10)
- Nick/Whitman – 16.76 lbs.
- Romig/Swett – 16.59 lbs.
- Dufrene/White – 16.58 lbs.
- Stubbs/Breland – 16.48 lbs.
- Roberts/Landry – 16.13 lbs.
- Fryfogle/Turner – 15.79 lbs.
- McFadden/Fonvielle – 15.67 lbs.
- Nelson/Nelson – 15.67 lbs.
- Morris/Naron – 15.64 lbs.
- Wiggins/Sloan – 15.40 lbs.
Image courtesy Blue Heron Communications