Doug Schallmoser, of Cape Coral, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 52.75 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing event at Punta Gorda, Fla., on February 26, 2012. The event, which operated out of Laishley Park Marina, was the first regular-season event for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour’s Florida West Coast Division.
In his third year competing on the tour, Schallmoser encountered unexpected winds but changed locations. Traveling 10 miles total, Schallmoser fished in Pine Island Sound. For his winning redfish and trout, the angler won a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,549 and an extra $200 for having the highest place finish for an angler competing in a Hobie Kayak. He also earned the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award for his 33.75-inch redfish.
“I threw top-water baits while on the move,” Schallmoser said. “I was ecstatic to win, as the winning fish was caught at 1 p.m. with time running out.”
Second-place finisher, Cameron Schurlknight, of Venice, Fla., measured a 30.50-inch redfish and a 21.50-inch trout for a total length measurement of 52 inches to win the $1,000 second-place prize. Fighting windy conditions, the college student fished around Englewood with soft plastics and jigheads.
“The wind made the fishing tough but I was able to find them,” Schallmoser said. “It was a great event as always. The IFA runs the best tournament in the Southeast.”
Jason Stock, of Bradenton, Fla., encountered nasty conditions but fished hard to measure a 24-inch redfish and a 23.75-inch trout for the third-place prize of $500. Concentrating around the Palma Sola and Sarasota Bay area, Stock focused his efforts with top-water lures and earned an extra $100 for the Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award.
“I was hoping for a better day but did what I could,” Stock said. “It was probably the toughest kayak fishing experience of my life.”
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 qualifying and 3 regional, 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 approximately $9,500 (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 at the qualifying events. Hobie will be paying $200 to the highest angler fishing out of a Hobie kayak at each IFA Qualifying event, $400 at the Regional events and $1,000 at the Championship.
The IFA Redfish and IFA Kayak Fishing Tours continues to draw redfish anglers from Texas to the Carolinas and beyond, offering anglers 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 money and prize packages, as well as a shot at the coveted Overall Divisional Angler of the Year Award for the six regular-season division winners.