Geoff Page, of Sarasota, Florida, and Rick Murphy, of Homestead, Florida, weighed a two-day limit that totaled 35.29 pounds to win the championship event of the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Cabela’s at Houma, Louisiana, on Oct. 25.
This was the team’s first championship win but the anglers have won other IFA events in the past, including a Team-of-the-Year title in 2010 for the Florida West division. The anglers attributed some of their success to great conditions and the willingness to make long runs each day.
“The weather was consistent for two days before the tournament and the two days of competition,” said Murphy. “It changed the temperature of the water. It was blue skies with no clouds at all, which for sight-fishing is very helpful.”
The veteran IFA anglers ran 108 miles each day to fish the Venice area. With northerly winds of 10 to 12 mph, the anglers were able to make the long run to Venice by using barrier islands as a buffer.
“The big reason we ran that far is that Venice sticks out so far into the Gulf of Mexico that the pogey population is high,” Murphy said.
Upon arrival, the anglers found a bay loaded with baitfish, including pogey, white shrimp, brown shrimp, blue crabs and finger mullets.
“There were five different species of redfish baits literally on one shoreline,” said Murphy. “We knew there was so much protein there, that if we could catch a fish that was close to 27 inches, he was going to be really big.”
The tactic paid off as the anglers boated two of the three heaviest fish of the tournament.
“We caught the second and third largest fish of the tournament; a 9.77- and 9.67-pound redfish.,” Murphy said. “That was part of the strategy because pogies make the fish so fat.”
The anglers fished spinner baits and chartreuse-colored paddle tails in pogey patches. After day one, the anglers sat in eleventh place with 16.85 pounds. A return trip to Venice the next day paid off with an 18.44-pound limit and the championship title. The anglers won a Ranger 220 Bahia w/a Yamaha 150HP Package, valued at $41,000 and added $3,990 in Anglers Advantage cash.
“It’s a nice payday for a two-day tournament,” said Murphy. “There are a lot of things that have to happen just right to win in a tournament like this. We did the best we could do and it just happened to fall together and become our turn.”
Kris Howell, of Land O” Lakes, Florida, and Brett Norris, of St. Petersburg, Florida, brought in an impressive bag of 18.73 pounds on day one to take the tournament lead. The team’s final-day limit of 16.39 pounds was not enough to hold off Murphy and Page and finished in a close second with 35.12 pounds.
The team won a new Ranger 1862CC w/a Yamaha F70HP, valued at $25,995, for the second-place finish. The anglers also took advantage of one of the many contingency prize opportunities and added $2,280 in Anglers Advantage cash.
Making the long trip from North Carolina, Mike Taylor and John Roberts took home the $3,758 third-place prize with a two-day limit of 34.51 pounds. After bringing in 17.49 pounds on day one, the anglers sat in fourth place. Their day-two bag of fish weighed 17.02 pounds and was enough to push them into the top three.
In addition to great support from the Houma Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, 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, Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, Bob’s Machine Shop, Blue Point Fabrication, SuperClean, Progressive, Mustang Survival, iON Cameras, Valley Fashions, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Falgout Canal Marina and Quality Hotel of Houma.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com.
IFA Redfish Tour Championship – Houma, La. (Top 10)
1. Page/ Murphy – 35.29 lbs.
2. Howell/Norris – 35.12 lbs.
3. Taylor/Roberts – 34.51 lbs.
4. Causey/Payne – 34.47 lbs.
5. Wilson/Wilson – 33.77 lbs.
6. Baggett/Baggett – 33.46 lbs.
7. Peters/Vercillo – 33.42 lbs.
8. Kitchens/Ference – 33.41 lbs.
9. Simmons/McBride – 33.03 lbs.
10. Dufrene/White – 33.01 lbs.
Blue Heron Communications
Image courtesy Inshore Fishing Association