Paul Lambert, of Punta Gorda, Fla., and Steve Mathews, of Tampa, Fla., weighed in a two-redfish limit that totaled 14.16 pounds to win the IFA Redfish Tour event at Punta Gorda, Fla., on February 25, 2012. To win the event, which operated out of Laishley Park Marina, the duo topped a large field of two-angler teams to take home a new, fully-rigged Ranger Banshee Extreme powered by a 60-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 $30,000.
Lambert and Mathews reported windy but good conditions. Helped by Lambert’s experience as a fishing guide, the team worked shallow flats with spoons and plastic jigs to take home the win.
“We ran about six miles south,” Lambert said. “Although the wind was up, we didn’t have any mishaps and had a great experience.”
Second-place finishers, Chris Magnano, of Ft. Meyers, Fla., and Kyle Potts, of Bokeelia, Fla., brought 13.93 pounds to the scales during the event. Landing a 7.90-pound kicker garnered the team the $500 Berkley Big fish Award as well as a $250 Cabela’s gift card from Berkley for catching their Big Fish on Berkley Gulp Natural with a jig head.
“We knew the in-coming cold front would make things tough,” Magnano said. “But were prepared for it and stuck to our plan of fishing for scattered fish in pot holes.”
The third-place team of Chuck Cash, of Ft. Meyers, Fla., and Chris Trimble, of Cape Coral, Fla., weighed in 13.04 pounds during the tournament. The team ran 20 miles in rough water to the flats, fishing with gold spoons.
With its 13-place finish in the Punta Gorda event, the team of Mickey Gibbs and Jeremy Heimes won the $1,000 Cabela’s Angler Cash Award, given to the qualifying team with the highest place of finish.
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.
In addition to a possible $60,000 in payouts per event (based on a 100-boat field), the first-place prize package for all 12 IFA Redfish Tour regular-season events remains extremely lucrative. In 2012, every regular-season tournament winner is guaranteed – regardless of field size – a fully loaded 2012 Ranger Banshee Extreme. The boat is powered by a 60-horsepower, four-stroke Yamaha outboard and is 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. The entire first-place prize package is valued at $30,000.
Lucrative contingency programs for 2012 include $250 prize to a team who wins and are members of the Power-Pole Captains Cash Club, $2,000 prize for the winning team if they are Ranger Cup compliant; $500 Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award plus a matching $250 Cabela’s gift card from Berkley if the angler was using Gulp! Or Gulp! Alive!, Two PENN reels to IFA Redfish Tour event winners who use PENN reels; $250 from NBOA if the winning team is NBOA Marine Insurance contingency program compliant