Ryan Conner, of Yulee, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 47.25 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing event at Jacksonville, Fla., on March 11. The event, which operated out of Beach Marine, was the first regular-season event for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour’s Florida East Coast Division.
In his third year competing on the tour, Conner traveled five miles fishing Berkley GULP! baits, twitch baits and jerkbaits in the flats of the Fernandina Beach area. For his winning redfish and trout, the angler won a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak valued at $2,549.
“I was ecstatic,” said Conner. “I didn’t think I would win with what I had, but it was nice to win with a fish from the flats.”
Conner capped his tournament by winning the Berkley Gulp! Redfish Award for his 27.75-inch redfish, which paid him $100 plus a $100 Cabela’s gift card, courtesy of Berkley.
Second-place finisher, John Chapman, of Jacksonville, Fla., measured a 27.50-inch redfish and a 19.50-inch trout for a total length of 47.00 inches to win the $1,000 second-place prize. Fighting a blowing gale, the angler fished top-water baits and bounced a jighead with Berkley GULP! on the bottom. Chapman also took home $200 for having the highest place finish for an angler competing in a Hobie Kayak.
“The morning was nice with a little breeze,” said Chapman. “But, as expected, the wind started blowing hard out of the east around 10:00 in the morning.”
In his first year fishing the IFA Kayak Tour, Judson Miller, of Jacksonville, Fla., fought 30 mph winds in his kayak but measured a 22.00-inch redfish and a 21.25-inch trout to take the $500 third-place prize. Staying in the northern Jacksonville area, Miller fished exclusively with a jerkbait made of GULP!.
“The conditions were horrid,” said Miller. “I just kept throwing and throwing.” It was pretty rad.”
Tenth-place finisher Rob Duerscheidt took home $100 for the Berkley GULP! Trout Award for his 24.50-inch speckled trout.
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 regular-season, 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 $9,800 (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. Hobie will be paying $200 to the highest angler fishing out of a Hobie kayak at each IFA event.
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.
The fastest-growing kayak fishing tournament trail in the country, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing offers inshore kayak anglers from a multitude of states the opportunity to participate in competitive fishing tournaments. With low entry fees and minimal travel requirements, kayak anglers competing in the catch-photograph-release tournaments can take advantage of the numerous money and product prizes awarded to competitors. First-place prize for each regular-season event of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing, regardless of field size, is a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak valued at $2,549. Second and third place finishers are awarded cash prizes of $1,000 and $500, respectively.