McDonald is Hometown Hero at IFA Kayak Fishing Event

McDonald is Hometown Hero at IFA Kayak Fishing Event
McDonald is Hometown Hero at IFA Kayak Fishing Event

Mike McDonald, of Sarasota, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 51 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing event at Sarasota on May 1. The event, which operated out of Centennial Park, was the second of three regular-season events for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour?s Florida West Division.

Fishing in the areas of City and Buttonwood, McDonald employed Berkley Gulp! baits to boat his redfish and targeted trout with top-water lures. Battling high winds and choppy water, McDonald switched tactics during the event, opting to fish areas that he targets during the winter months.

?When I first got there I didn?t do very well; got a couple of small ones,? McDonald said. ?I almost gave up on it but then I moved 100 yards and caught a decent trout. Then I caught two more great trout ? the biggest ones I?ve seen in a long time.?

With the win, McDonald took home a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,499. He also took home the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award.

Second-place finisher, Ashton Boyer, of Port Charlotte, Fla., measured a 25.75-inch redfish and a 22.25-inch trout for a total length measurement of 48 inches to secure the $1,000 second-place prize.

Relying on Berkley Gulp! baits in his first kayak-fishing tournament, Boyer overcame losing several good fish early in the day to finish second.

?My first fish was a catfish, then I stuck a good redfish ? 27-28 inches,? Boyer said. ?But it swam through my legs and broke off. I lost a few 30-inch reds today, too.?

Third-place finisher, Doug Fisher, of Sarasota, won $500 prize money plus $143 in Anglers Advantage money with a combined length measurement of 47.25 inches. After high winds forced him to fish alternate areas where he could launch his kayak, Fisher drifted most of the day, casting top-water baits into mullet schools to land his fish.

Ninth-place finisher, Lance Gardner, took home the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award, which brought him an additional $100 Cabela?s gift card, courtesy of Berkley, for catching the fish on a Gulp bait. B.J. Minarcin, of Naples, Fla., won the $100 Junior Angler Award; David Shields (seventh place) won the $200 Hobie contingency as the highest-finishing angler competing from a Hobie kayak.

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 or To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to

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