Photograph by ifakayakfishingtour.com
LIZELLA, Ga. (March 1, 2011) – Cameron Schurlknight caught a redfish and a speckled sea trout totaling 56.5 inches in combined length to win the season-opening event for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing, contested February 27 in Punta Gorda, Fla. The event, which operated out of Laishley Marina and Hooter’s of Port Charlotte, was the first of three regular-season events for the tour’s Florida West Coast Division.
Fishing north towards Sarasota, Fla., Schurlknight targeted areas of schooling mullet, utilizing topwater baits to catch his speckled sea trout – a 26.25-inch catch that earned him the $200 prize for the biggest trout of the event.
“We were fishing on a shallow flat in a less than 18 inches of water, getting a lot of strikes, short strikes and some smaller fish and ended up catching the big one,” Schurlknight said. “After that we loaded up and went a half-mile south and went looking for redfish.”
In addition to his first-place prize of a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,399 and the big trout prize, Schurlknight also won an extra $200 contingency prize for winning the event while fishing from his Hobie Revolution kayak.
Second-place finisher Tim Landry, of Ft. Myers, Fla., measured a 32-inch redfish and a 23.75-inch sea trout, giving him an aggregate score of 55.75 inches for the tournament, winning him the guaranteed $1,000 Hobie cash. His 32-inch redfish, the largest of the event, also earned him the $100 Big Redfish Award.
Using Sebile baits as well as topwaters, Landry fished north earlier in the day targeting trout before setting his sight on redfish in areas further south, catching six fish total during the tournament.
John Donahue measured a 29.5-inch redfish and a 21.5-inch sea trout for a combined measurement of 51 inches to win the third-place prize of $500 guaranteed Hobie cash. Despite losing a potentially outcome-changing sea trout earlier in the day, Donahue used jigs to land his redfish and topwater lures for trout.
“I started out by making three casts with a Blurp Shad Tail on a Bass Assassin 1/4-ounce jig head and caught the 29.5-inch redfish, then I went north and started casting topwaters for trout,” Donahue said. “I had a nice one get off but I was able to catch a 21.5-incher, so I was able to make out okay.”
Fifth-grader Matt Harvel won the $100 Junior Angler prize for his 17-inch sea trout, the largest catch measured by a junior angler.
IFA Kayak Tour competition continues on Sunday, March 6 in Jacksonville, as the Florida East Division gets underway.
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 $2,399, 2nd place prize will be a $1,000 Hobie cash 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.
The IFA Redfish and IFA Kayak 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.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, Yamaha Outboards, Columbia Sportswear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, Wrap This, Charter Lakes Marine Insurance, Blue Point Fabrication, EGO Nets, Bob’s Machine Shop, 321fish.com, Kayak Angler Magazine, Loadmaster, Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Laishley Marina and Hooters of Port Charlotte.
IFA Kayak Tour Florida West Coast Division
Punta Gorda, Fla. (Top 10)
1. Cameron Schurlknight – 56.5 inches
2. Tim Landry – 55.75 inches
3. John Donahue – 51 inches
4. Doug Schullmoses – 50 inches
5. Chris Lewis – 45.5 inches
6. David Shields – 45.5 inches
7. George Yock – 42.875 inches
8. James Lowe – 42.5 inches
9. Josh Harvel – 41 inches
10. Benard Minarcin – 40.75 inches
$100 Big Redfish: Tim Landry (32 inches)
$200 Big Trout: Cameron Schurlknight (26.25 inches)
$100 Junior Angler Prize: Matt Harvel (17-inch trout)