LIZELLA, Ga. - Nathan Raycroft, of Swansboro, N.C., caught a redfish that measured 34 inches in length to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing event on March 12 in Savannah, Ga. The event, which operated out of Coffee Bluff Marina, was the regular-season opener for the IFA Kayak Tour's Atlantic Division.
In his first trip to fish in Savannah, Raycroft netted the first-place prize of a Hobie Mirage Pro-Angler Kayak valued at $2,399, as well as a $100 prize for the Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award and a $100 Cabela's gift card from Berkley for using Berkley Gulp! to catch his Redfish. Nathan also received the EGO Nets award of $25 for using his EGO Net to land the Big Redfish. In addition to the above prizes, Raycroft learned a lot about the area.
"I learned it was tough finding fish," said Raycroft, who, like all but two competitors in the tournament, did not catch a speckled sea trout during the competition. "I chased fish in some water that was pretty clear. It looked like it was excellent water for redfish and trout both, but all I found was other fish."
Second-place finisher Robby Freeman, of Athens, Ga., measured a 29-inch redfish, securing the $1,000 second-place prize. Third-place finisher, Justin Carter of Mount Pleasant, S.C., measured a 28.5-inche redfish to win $500.
Ninth-place finisher, Stephen Yurkevicius of Jacksonville, Fla., measured a 19.375-inch trout to win the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award and because he caught the Big Trout using Berkley Gulp! he received an additional $100 Cabela's gift card from Berkley.
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 $2,399, 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. 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.
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.redfishtour.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, Berkley, Gulp!, PENN reels, Yamaha Outboards, Columbia Sportswear, Minn Kota, Humminbird, OPTIMA Batteries, 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, and Coffee Bluff Marina.IFA Atlantic Division
Savannah, Ga. (Top 10)
1. Nathan Raycroft - 34 inches
2. Robby Freeman - 29 inches
3. Justin Carter - 28.5 inches
4. Dave Jaskiewicz - 27.25 inches
5. Dolphin Hamilton - 26.5 inches
6. Trey Leggett - 26.5 inches
7. Larry Hancock - 22.875 inches
8. Christopher Chappell - 21.5 inches
9. Stephen Yurkevicius - 19.375 inches
10. John Chapman - 19.25 inches
$100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award + $100 Cabela's gift card: Nathan Raycroft (34 inches)
$100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award + $100 Cabela's gift card: Stephen Yurkevicius (19.375 inches)
$100 Junior Angler Prize: Max Lenk (16.5-inch trout)
$25 EGO Nets Award: Nathan Raycroft