IFA tournaments in the Gulf Coast this weekend
Anglers from across the Gulf Coast and surrounding regions will converge on Panama City Beach, Fla., for the second Gulf Coast Division regular-season event for both the IFA Redfish Tour Presented by Cabela's and the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing. Saturday's IFA Redfish Tour event, which will launch from St. Andrews Marina, and Sunday's IFA Kayak Fishing Tour, are the second of three regular-season tournaments for the Gulf Coast Division, one of six divisions of IFA Tour events running from the Carolinas to Texas.
The weekend's activities begin Friday, June 4 with the IFA Redfish Tour registration from 5-7 p.m. at the La Quinta Inn (7115 Coastal Palms Blvd., Panama City Beach, FL 32408) with hors d'oeuvres and the Captain's Meeting to follow. Anglers will launch from St. Andrews Marina (3151 W. 10th St., Panama City, FL 32401) at safe light on Saturday for the one-day event. Check-in times will be assigned at the Captains Meeting.
Competitors in the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing will have a registration and captain's meeting from 6-7 p.m. on Saturday, June 5 at St. Andrews Marina with the weigh-in at Sunjammers Watersports (315 N. Hwy 79, Panama City Beach, FL 32413). Check-in times will be announced at the captain's meeting.
IFA Kayak Fishing Tour flyers and entry forms are available at Sunjammers Watersports. NFL Hall-of-Fame member, Jackie Smith, one of Hobie's most visible and outspoken field ambassadors, will also be on hand to meet with kayaking enthusiasts during the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour event. In 2001, Smith was instrumental in the introduction of the Hobie Mirage Outback, the first Hobie kayak with built-in rod holders, converting Hobie from a boating and recreational kayak company into fishing boats mainstay.
In its inaugural season, the IFA Kayak Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing continues to meet the needs of anglers from Texas to the Carolinas, most recently by announcing modifications to a pair of rules for its premier, kayak-only tournament series. Beginning with the IFA Kayak Tour event in Port Lavaca, Texas, and effective throughout the remainder of the 2010 season, all tournament participants will compete using artificial baits only and will not be allowed to use any live, formerly live or prepared baits. In addition to introducing artificial-bait only guidelines, the IFA Redfish Tour will also cease its cap on the 27-inch maximum length measurement on redfish caught during competition. Previously, competitors could receive up to the maximum of 27 inches in length for any redfish that adheres to the guidelines set forth in this catch-photograph-release tournament format. IFA Kayak Tour tournament winners are decided by a combined total length measurement of their largest redfish and largest speckled sea trout. This rule modification now gives anglers the credit for the entire size of their catch, helping to fuel interest in redfish competitions and spotlight those conservation efforts that help ensure trophy-class fishing opportunities.
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 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.
New for 2010, IFA Redfish Tour anglers will be able to increase their winnings with the Cabela's Angler Cash award and the Angler's Advantage Award. The Angler's Advantage Award allows anglers to add $100 to their already-low entry fee for the chance at increased winnings. The optional program pays out 100 percent to those participating teams. The Cabela's Angler Cash award gives a $1,000 gift card to any team that wins a regular-season tournament while competing with a Cabela's patch on their clothing (both people must have the patch on). For the no-entry-fee IFA Redfish Tour Championship, the qualified, winning team will receive a $2,500 Cabela's gift card. If the winners of an IFA Redfish Tour event are a registered and qualified Ranger Cup compliant team, then they will receive$2,000 (you must sign up every year).
Added in 2009 and continuing in 2010, teams fishing at least six tournaments in any combination of divisions are automatically eligible to compete for the IFA Redfish Tour "Ultra 6 Team of the Year" award. The award consists of a $5,000 cash prize, presented to the highest-finishing eligible team at the IFA Redfish Tour championship tournament.
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 to www.hobiefishing.com.