Lee Smith caught a redfish and speckled sea trout totaling 57 inches in combined length to win the IFA Kayak Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing event at Gulf Shores, Ala., on October 17. The event, which operated out of LuLu's at Home Port Marina, was the final regular-season event for the IFA Kayak Tour's Gulf Coast Division.
Using soft baits and top-water lures, Lee targeted large schools of fish in deeper water near sandbars. His catch, which included a 39.75-inch redfish - the largest of the event, earning him $200 - and a 17.25-inch trout brought the angler a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,399, the first-place prize for the catch-photograph-release tournament.
Second-place finisher, Chris Lewis, of Destin, Fla., measured a 39-inch redfish and a 17.75-inch speckled sea trout, giving him an aggregate score of 56.75 inches, earning him a Hobie Mirage Outback Kayak, valued at $1,749.
Third-place finisher, Liam Callaghan, fished near Pensacola, Fla., to catch his 22.825-inch redfish and 22.5-inch speckled sea trout, winning a Hobie Quest, valued at $949. His third-place finish also earned him the first-ever Gulf Coast Division Angler of the Year Award for IFA Kayak Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing. Callaghan will be competing against winners of the other five IFA divisions for the Overall Division Angler of the Year Award at the 2010 championship at Orange Beach, Ala, as well as against the rest of the field for the championship title.
"It was a grind," said Callaghan of his third-place finish that captured the division title. "I caught good fish (during practice) but left them alone."
The $200 big trout award went to Jason Callaghan for his 24.5-inch speckled sea trout.
Each of the Cabela's IFA Redfish Tour 18 regular-season events will commence on Saturday with the newly formed IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing contested the following day (Sundays). In its inaugural 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 $2399, 2nd place prize will be a Hobie Mirage Outback, valued at $1,749 and 3rd place a Hobie Quest, valued at $949.
The IFA Redfish and IFA Kayak 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 Cabela's 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, Yamaha Outboards, Rapala, Trigger X, Sufix, Columbia Sportswear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, Wrap This, CW Crab, Charter Lakes Marine Insurance, Solar Bat, Navionics, Blue Point Fabrication, EGO Nets, Bob's Machine Shop, 321fish.com, Kayak Angler Magazine, Terminator, VMC Hooks, Loadmaster, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, LuLu's at Home Port Marina and the Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission.
IFA Kayak Tour Gulf Coast Division
Gulf Shores, Ala. (Top 10)
1. Lee Smith - 57 inches
2. Chris Lewis - 56.75 inches
3. Liam Callaghan - 45.325 inches
4. Jason Callaghan - 44.5 inches
5. Benton Parrott - 44.5 inches
6. Tony Hoffmann - 42.25 inches
7. Chris Holmes - 39 inches
8. Ernie Cavitt - 26 inches
9. Brendan Bayard - 23.5 inches
10. Jeff Suber - 23 inches
$200 Big Redfish: Lee Smith (39.75 inches)
$200 Big Trout: Jason Callaghan (24.5 inches)