Team Sight Fishes To IFA Victory
Mark Sepe, of Deland, Fla., and Brandon Buckner, of Fort Myers, Fla., weighed in a two-redfish limit that totaled 13.12 pounds to win the IFA Redfish Tour event at Titusville, Fla., on June 18. To win the event, which operated out of Sand Point Park, the team topped a large field of two-angler teams to take home a new, fully rigged Ranger Banshee Extreme powered by a 60-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 $30,000. In addition they won $1072 in the Anglers Advantage pool.
"We ran to Mosquito Lagoon, about 20 miles from the launch, and didn't have many fish in our area," said Sepe. "But we felt like they were the right fish and we made the most of our opportunities. We ended up catching about as much weight as we expected. The water seemed higher which moved the fish. But sight fishing the shallow flats paid off.
Soft baits were the order of the day as all top three teams relied on Exude, Berkley Gulp! and Bass Assassin baits for their catch.
The team of Chris Hueston and Mike Tucker, both from Miami, Fla., took second place honors with a total weight of 12.80 pounds. The pair have 21 years of combined IFA experience and have a win in their history plus multiple top ten finishes. Hueston and Tucker also were sight fishing the skinny water with jerk baits. The team won $534 in the Anglers Advantage pool.
"We expected sight fishing would be the order of the day and were not disappointed with the fishing," said Hueston. "The tournament was outstanding. The only thing we would change would be finishing in first."
The third-place team of Miami, Fla., residents Troy and Christine Perez, weighed in 12.28 pounds during the tournament. The pair were also fishing Mosquito Lagoon, sight fishing with Gulp! Shrimp in the shallows. The Perez team has a long history of IFA competition with multiple wins, including previous wins in the Titusville area. Their winnings including $1,000 from the Cabela's Angler Cash award and $473 from the Anglers Advantage pool.
"We had a good idea of what conditions to expect and knew the Gulp! Shrimp would be a great bait to entice the reds in such shallow water," said Joey Perez.
The team of Bryan Ward and Austin Pride brought only one fish to the scales, caught with Berkley Gulp!, but the 7.18-pound redfish was big enough to capture the Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award worth $500 plus a $500 Cabela's gift card from Berkley for using Gulp!.
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; 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. To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to www.hobiefishing.com.
IFA Florida East Coast Division
Titusville, Fla. (Top 10)
- Sepe/Buckner - 13.12 lbs.
- Hueston/Tucker - 12.80 lbs.
- Perez/Perez - 12.28 lbs.
- Kelly/Brockman - 11.96 lbs.
- Pope/Chivas - 11.95 lbs.
- Henninger/Henninger - 11.23 lbs.
- Fraser/Sapp - 10.99 lbs.
- Phillips/Guthrie - 10.83 lbs.
- Simmons/McBride - 9.26 lbs.
- Cox/Cox - 8.59 lbs.
Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Award ($500) + $500 Cabela's gif">Ward/Pride (7.18 lbs.)
Cabela's Angler Cash ($1,000):
For a schedule of other upcoming tournaments, click here.