Student angler teams from Florida Gulf Coast University in Ft. Myers, Florida, and King High School in Tampa, Florida, topped the leader boards for their respective categories at the inaugural IFA College and High School Saltwater championship events at Houma, Louisiana, on Oct. 19. The all-new championship events featured up-and-coming student saltwater anglers from the college and high-school ranks.
Wyler Gins and Will Kollmann represented Florida Gulf Coast University and brought in a two-redfish limit of 15.84 pounds to win the college category. Both college anglers are avid saltwater anglers and active members in their university’s fishing club.
After a university fishing club member mentioned the College Saltwater championship event, the duo decided to make the 13-hour trip to Houma.
“One of my good friends Ty Nelson fishes the kayak side of the IFA and is always talking about it,” said Gins. “Some high school friends are fishing in the IFA Redfish championship next week and encouraged us to go to Houma as well.”
With two days of pre-fishing under their belt and a few tips from fellow saltwater anglers, the duo struck out into the redfish-rich waters of Louisiana. Running 30 to 45 minutes, the anglers fished Berkley Gulp! shrimp on jigheads in shallow waters.
“We were cruising the flats with the trolling motor in about two feet of water looking for v-wakes,” said Gins. “There were lots of mullet jumping and we were mainly looking for big v-wakes or in shallower water we could see the whole backs of the redfish. We caught all four of our fish by sight-fishing.”
The anglers were happy to have a competitive outlet for college saltwater anglers and are helping to spread the word.
“I think we need to really step it up when it comes to college saltwater angling,” said Gins. “They have all of these bass events all over the country and but we don’t have anything for the saltwater guys. I think the IFA has a great idea and has it started.”
Brothers Corbin Ferrantegennaro and Conner Ferrantegennaro, of Tampa, Florida, brought 15.76 pounds to the scales to win the high school category. With only one day of pre-fishing, the anglers didn’t have any experience fishing in the legendary fisheries of Louisiana but did use tactics honed in their home waters of Florida.
“We looked for the spots where there was a break in the hydrilla where the current was ripping through.,” said Corbin Ferrantegennaro. “We knew redfish like breaks and fast current because in Tampa we have a lot of sandbars and it’s that same setup. We figured if it works on sandbars in Tampa it should work in Louisiana and it did.”
The team ran 45 minutes and fished in the Lost Lake area with inline spinners and spoons. The anglers caught a total of six slot fish during the event and are looking forward to competing in the future.
“I definitely want to fish competitively when I get older,” said Corbin Ferrantegennaro. “I like the thrill of arriving at the weigh-in and seeing everyone’s fish. The anticipation at the weigh-in is really fun.”
The final stop for the IFA Redfish Tour is the championship event at Houma, Louisiana, Oct. 24-25.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com. To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to www.hobiefishing.com.
Blue Heron Communications
Image courtesy Greg Duncan/Inshore Fishing Association