After a three-year-long tournament partnership filled with numerous Top-3 finishes and other accolades, Chad Dufrene, of Purvis, Miss., and Jay Cedotal, of Baton Rouge, La., made their first-ever IFA Redfish Tour tournament win a memorable one. With a two-day, four-redfish total weight of 30.73 pounds, the pair captured the 2010 IFA Redfish Tour Championship at Orange Beach, Ala., on November 7, winning the event by more than three pounds and making a clean sweep of all the contingency awards.
Along with their championship victory, which brought the pair a loaded, 2010 Ranger 173 Ghost rigged with a 115 HP, 4-stroke Yamaha outboard, Power Pole shallow water anchor, MK trolling motor, HB electronics, Bob's Machine Shop Ultralight jackplate and Blue Point Fabrication metal work with an estimated retail value of $35,000, Dufrene and Cedotal also took home the Ultra 6 Award worth $5,000; $1,084 in Angler's Advantage money; the Rapala Big Fish award worth $700 for their 9.46-pound giant; a $2,500 Cabela's gift card for the Cabela's Angler Cash Award; plus contingency prizes from Minn Kota ($1,500) and Humminbird ($750). In all, the team took home more than $40,000 in cash and prizes in one of the most lucrative weekends in IFA Redfish Tour history.
Their championship win marked the turning of a corner for Dufrene and Cedotal: the pair finished second in both the 2008 and 2009 IFA Championships and won the Cabela's Team of the Year Award in 2009 despite being without a tournament win.
"There were a lot of other tournaments that I wanted to win and coming up just short can be really frustrating," Dufrene said. "But everyone has to win their first one somewhere, and it might as well be the championship."
During pre-tournament scouting, Dufrene located a handful of places where the pair believed they could catch tournament-winning fish. The area that would yield the eventual tournament-winning fish was filled with large redfish gorging on pogies. However, the voracious feeding only lasted a little longer than an hour, meaning the team would have to find other fish after those fish quit eating. But the area resulted in large fish each day on a Marsh Works Bayou Thumper, including some barely over the slot, which were released.
The second-place team of Ryan and Cory Maxwell, both of Pensacola, Fla., brought 27.72 pounds to the scales over two days, overcoming a potentially tournament-ending accident on the first day as they ran aground in shallow water while running at 55 mph. Fishing in the same vicinity as the Dufrene and Cedotal, the Maxwells ran 60 miles each way to find their fish, including the second day's largest limit of 15.73 pounds. With their second-place finish, the team took home $5,000.
"With everything that happened the first day, it threw our fishing off some, but we were still able to bring in a decent limit," Ryan Maxwell said. "We knew the area we were in had the fish to win the tournament but we had some weight to make up on the second day, but we finished strong and had almost 16 pounds."
Weather played a significant factor in the 2010 IFA Championship, altering many teams' fishing plans and even the tournament itself. Day one of the tournament was postponed following a small craft advisory from the National Weather Service. Pre-dawn winds in the area were measured at 29 mph in nearby areas, resulting in 4- to 6-foot seas, resulting in unsafe conditions. As a result, the tournament was contested on Saturday and Sunday instead of the original Friday/Saturday schedule.
Third-place finishers Glenn Finely, of Belton, S.C., and Dodd Wood, of Belton, S.C., brought 27.21 pounds to the championship scales over two days, despite being unable to practice in their chosen area prior to the tournament because of weather. Using Gulp! Shrimp on 4-ounce jig heads as well as Z-Man swim baits to bring in more than 13.5 pounds on both days, the team took home $2,501 in third-place prize money.
"We had some spots that we thought could hold the fish to win the tournament, but the weather had different plans for us," Finely said. "Honestly, we expected to zero on the first day."
During the 2010 IFA Redfish Tour Championship, six anglers competed in a tournament-within-a-tournament for the Cabela's Team of the Year Award and a $5,000 cash prize. Each team to win the points standing from each of the IFA's six divisions competed for the highest place of finish in the group to decide the title. This year, Rennie Clark and Drew Arndt, of Wilmington, N.C., winners of the Atlantic Division, finished 13th, the highest of the six division-winning teams.
"We decided to stay close and not make long runs in search of fish" Clark said. "The worst thing that could have happened to us would have been to get somewhere and not be able to get back in time for check in. With the Team of the Year and the tournament championship on the line, that was just too much to risk."
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 2010, every regular-season tournament winner is guaranteed - regardless of field size - a fully loaded 2010 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 and a Loadmaster trailer. The entire first-place prize package is valued at $30,000.
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 towww.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 Anlger Magazine, Terminator, VMC Hooks, Loadmaster, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. Local sponsors for the 2010 IFA Redfish Tour Championship include the Alabama Gulf Coast Sports Commission, Caribe Resort and Cobalt Restaurant.
2010 IFA Redfish Tour Championship
Orange Beach, Ala. (Top 25)
1. Dufrene/Cedotal - 30.73 lbs. (2010 Ranger 173 Ghost)
2. Maxwell/Maxwell - 27.72 lbs. ($5,000)
3. Finley/Wood - 27.21 lbs. ($2,501)
4. Nelson/Nelson - 26.04 lbs. ($1,501)
5. Davis/Williams - 24.43 lbs. ($1,001)
6. Pattison/Cube - 23.89 lbs. ($750)
7. Jimenez/Gilbert - 23.30 lbs. ($750)
8. Vercillo/Peters - 22.69 lbs. ($750)
9. White/White - 22.42 lbs. ($750)
10. Fraser/Sapp - 21.89 lbs. ($750)
11. Nelson/Brown - 20.40 lbs. ($551)
12. Watts/Dasinger - 20.33 lbs. ($551)
13. Clark/Arndt - 20.29 lbs. ($551)
14. Melvin/Watson - 19.53 lbs. ($551)
15. Oliverio/Green - 19.31 lbs. ($551)
16. Derringer/McCullough - 17.11 lbs. ($500)
17. Vallandingham/Tierman - 16.74 lbs. ($500)
18. Massey/Metzger - 16.20 lbs. ($500)
19. Jewett/Maddox - 14.61 lbs. ($500)
20. Walker/Glenn - 14.29 lbs. ($500)
21. Henninger/Eschete - 13.96 lbs. ($450)
22. Bird/Bird - 13.32 lbs. ($450)
23. Walker/Hendrick - 13.06 lbs. ($450)
24. Cleveland/Leeper - 13.03 lbs. ($450)
25. Fields/Crumpton - 11.75 lbs. ($450)
Rapala Big Fish ($700): Dufrene/Cedotal (9.46 lbs.)
Cabela's Angler Cash ($2,500 Cabela's Gift Card): Dufrene/Cedotal
Cabela's Team of the Year ($5,000): Clark/Arndt
Minn Kota Contingency Prize ($1,500): Dufrene/Cedotal
Humminbird Contingency Prize ($750): Dufrene/Cedotal
Ultra 6 Award ($5,000): Dufrene/Cedotal