Chris Lewis, of Key Largo, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measure a combined 61.00 inches in length to the win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing event at Orange Beach, Fla., on October 16. The event, which operated out of Caribe Resort, was the last of three regular-season events for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour's Gulf Division.
Fishing in the Destin, Fla., area, Lewis, who has fished with the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour for two years, sight fished with Berkley Gulp! and hardbaits. Lewis added $200 for winning the Hobie Top Angler prize for having the highest place of finish for an angler competing from a Hobie Kayak.
“The weather was great,” Lewis said. “I was casting a lot to take advantage of the good conditions.”
Second-place finisher, Lee Smith, of Niceville, Fla., measured a 38.50-inch redfish and a 21.50-inch trout for a total length measurement of 60 inches to lock up the second place prize of $1,000.
Smith, who was the 2011 Gulf Division Angler of the Year, fished hard with Berkely Gulp! and hardbaits in tough conditions around Destin, but didn't let it get in his way of having a great day.
“I can’t complain,” Smith said. “It was good times with good friends.”
Third-place finisher, Benton Parrott, of Spanish Fort, Ala., fished locally and garnered $500 for weighing in his redfish and trout, which measured a combined 59.50 inches in length using a spinner bait for redfish and a top-water bait for trout.
Parrott took advantage of a small break in wind in the morning to go after the bull reds, which netted him an extra $100 for winning the Berkley Gulp! Redfish Award with a 40.50-inch redfish.
“I usually fish for trout first,” Parrott said. “But I swapped it around and used the pause in the wind to take advantage.”
Seventh-place finisher, Brandan Bayard won $100 for the Berkley Gulp! Trout Award for catching a 24.25-inch trout.
Each of the Cabela’s IFA Redfish Tour 18 regular-season events will commence on Saturday with the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing contested the following day (Sundays). In its second season, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie will feature 18 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 (based on a 100-boat field) plus Big Redfish, Big Trout and Junior Angler Awards. The winner will take home a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler valued at $2,499, 2nd place prize will be a $1,000 and 3rd place $500 Hobie cash. New for 2011, kayak anglers can take advantage of the Angler's Advantage program. Anglers who participate in the program can pay an additional $25 entry fee, which is paid back at 100 percent to participants, based on place of finish. Lucrative contingency programs added for 2011 include $50 prize to the team claiming the big fish award in an IFA Redfish Tour event if the fish is landed with an EGO Net, $25 prize for both the big redfish and big trout in IFA Kayak Fishing Tour events; a PENN reel for tournament-winning angler who competes with PENN reel.
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 three-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 three of the IFA’s 18 regular-season events 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 Team of the Year Award for the six regular-season division winners.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, the fastest-growing inshore fishing tournament series in the United States, go online to www.redfishtour.com or www.ifakayakfishingtour.com. To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to www.hobiefishing.com.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of the fishing industry’s most respected brands: Ranger Boats, Hobie Fishing, Cabela’s, Gulp!, Gulp! Alive, PENN reels, Yamaha Outboards, Columbia Sportswear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, OPTIMA Batteries, Power-Pole, Wrap This, Blue Point Fabrication, EGO Nets, Spiderwire, Sebile, Bob’s Machine Shop, 321fish.com, Kayak Angler Magazine, Loadmaster, NBOA Marina Insurance, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Gulf Shores & Orange Beach Sports Commission, and Caribe Resort.
IFA Gulf Division
Orange Beach, Fla. (Top 10)
- Chris Lewis – 61.00 inches
- Lee Smith – 60.00 inches
- Benton Parrott – 59.50 inches
- Chris Holmes – 55.25 inches
- Chad Skeeles – 40.63 inches
- Greg Ammon – 35.75 inches
- Brendan Bayard – 24.25 inches
- Jeff Suber – 20.00 inches
- Micha Mixon – 15.25 inches
- Linda Cavitt – 15.00 inches