LIZELLA, Ga. - Lee Smith, of Niceville, Fla., caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 45 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing event at Panama City Beach, Fla., on June 12. The event, which operated out of Bay Point Marina, was the second of three regular-season events for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour's Gulf Coast Division.
Fishing in and around him home waters in the Niceville area, Smith relied primarily on top-water baits to take home a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,499, plus a contingency prize from Hobie for winning the tournament while competing out of his Hobie kayak.
"I was actually disappointed with what I ended up with. I broke off 59 inches worth of fish today and thought it would take at least 50 inches to win," Smith said. "I guess it was tougher for everyone else."
Second-place finisher, Bill Laminack, of Youngstown, Fla., measured a 25.13-inch redfish and a 16.25-inch trout for a total length measurement of 41.38 inches to secure the $1,000 second-place prize, plus the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award.
Fishing the East Bay area, Laminack sight fished and relied on top-water baits, picking up the $1,000 second-place prize.
"I wasn't even going to try to catch a redfish today, I was really just going to focus on the trout that I had been finding for the past few times," Laminack said. "Last weekend, I found them in the area I was fishing today and I thought when the tide changed I might get them back. So I just casted around schools of mullet and caught my fish on back-to-back casts."
Third-place finisher, Chandler Graves, of Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., won $500 for his redfish and trout, which measured a combined 38.50 inches, caught in the Destin and Niceville areas.
"I fished a bunch of different kinds of baits: gold spoons, Berkley Gulp!, swim baits - everything I had," Graves said. "But it was just a pretty tough day for me."
Linda Cavitt won the Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award for her 23.75-inch trout, which won her $100 plus a $100 Cabela's gift card, all courtesy of Berkley. Micha Mixon (sixth place) won the $100 Junior Angler Award.
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 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, Gulp!, Gulp! Alive, PENN reels, Yamaha Outboards, Columbia Sportswear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, OPTIMA Batteries, Power-Pole, Wrap This, Blue Point Fabrication, EGO Nets, Spiderwire, Sebile, Bob's Machine Shop, 321fish.com, Kayak Angler Magazine, Loadmaster, NBOA Marina Insurance, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce and Bay Point Marina.
IFA Gulf Coast Division
Panama City Beach, Fla. (Top 10)
1. Lee Smith - 45.00 inches
2. Bill Laminack - 41.38 inches
3. Chandler Graves - 38.50 inches
4. Benton Parrott - 38.00 inches
5. Tim Walker - 37.75 inches
6. Micha Mixon - 25.00 inches
7. Linda Cavitt - 23.75 inches
8. Ernie Cavitt - 23.00 inches
9. Chad Skeeles - 19.00 inches
10. Bill Carroll - 16.50 inches
$200 Hobie Contingency:
$100 Berkley GULP! Big Redfish Award:
Bill Laminack (25.13 inches)
$100 Berkley GULP! Big Trout Award + $100 Cabela's Gift Card from Berkley:
Linda Cavitt (23.75 inches)
$25 Ego Net Redfish Award:
$100 Junior Angler Award: