2011 IFA Redfish Tour Champions
Fred Myers of Panama City, Fla., and Bruce Lindheim of Pensacola, Fla., weighed in four redfish that totaled 34.27 pounds to win the IFA Redfish Tour Championship event at Chalmette La., on November 5. To win the two-day event, which operated out of Gulf Outlet Marina, the team topped a large field of two-angler teams to take home a new, fully rigged Ranger 173 Ghost powered by a 115-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, an OPTIMA battery and a Loadmaster trailer valued at $35,000.
Myers and Lindheim, winners of the 2009 IFA Redfish Tour Championship, ran 103 miles during the Chalmette event sight-fishing with hardbaits in clear waters. The winning team also took home an additional $250 for being members of the National Boat Owners Association and the $2,500 Cabela's Anglers Cash Award.
"The conditions were ideal for shad-type baits," Myers said. "The water was clear and all the pieces fell together. It really couldn't get any better."
Second-place finishers, Mark Cruz of Lakeland, Fla., and Cameron Schrulknight from Venice, Fla., brought 34.20 pounds of redfish to the scales during the Chalmette event utilizing popping corks with Berkley Gulp! baits. The team did well despite this being their first time fishing in the Delacroix (La.) area.
"The water was lower than we had expected," Cruz said. "This pushed the fish out from the creeks and we had an easy time hooking into those reds."
The third-place team of Blake and Wes Nelson, both from Niceville, Fla., weighed in 34.16 pounds during the championship. After a 45-mile run to Delacroix, the team experienced great weather and fished with Gulp! baits to land their limit.
"With the good weather we were able to fish how we wanted," Nelson said. "We had an absolute blast catching big Louisiana reds."
Dwayne Eschete and Eddie Adams, who finished in 5th place, won the Cabela's 2011 Team of the Year Award and took home $5,000. Chad Dufrene and Jay Cedotal also went home with $5,000 for the 2011 IFA Ultra 6 Award. Also, Jason Melvin and Jimmy Watson, 24th-place finishers, weighed in a 9.33-pound redfish caught with Gulp! to win the Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award.
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 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 a combined $78,200 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 18 IFA Redfish Tour regular-season events remains extremely lucrative. In 2011, every regular-season tournament winner is guaranteed - regardless of field size - a fully loaded 2011 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, an OPTIMA battery and a Loadmaster trailer. The entire first-place prize package is valued at $30,000. 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 Tour events; $250 prize to a qualifying winning team which competes from a boat equipped with OPTIMA Batteries; $250 prize from NBOA Boat Insurance to the winning team if they are program-qualified; PENN reels for tournament-winning anglers who compete with PENN reels.
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.