Nasty weather and tough conditions couldn’t keep these kayak anglers from catching redfish and seatrout and taking home prizes.
Ryan Conner, of Yulee, caught a redfish and speckled seatrout that measured a combined 47.25 inches to win the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour at Jacksonville on March 11. The event, which operated out of Beach Marine, was the first regular-season event for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour’s Florida East Coast Division.
In his third year competing on the tour, Conner traveled five miles fishing Berkley GULP! baits, twitch baits and jerkbaits on the flats of the Fernandina Beach area. For his winning redfish and trout, the angler won a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak.
“I was ecstatic,” said Conner. “I didn’t think I would win with what I had, but it was nice to win with a fish from the flats.”
Conner capped his tournament by winning the Berkley Gulp! Redfish Award for his 27.75-inch redfish, which paid him $100, plus a $100 Cabela’s gift card courtesy of Berkley.
Second-place finisher, John Chapman, of Jacksonville, Fla., measured a 27.50-inch redfish and a 19.50-inch trout for a total length of 47.00 inches to win the $1,000 second-place prize. Fighting a blowing gale, the angler fished topwater baits and bounced a jighead with Berkley GULP! on the bottom. Chapman also took home $200 for having the highest place finish for an angler competing in a Hobie Kayak.
“The morning was nice with a little breeze,” said Chapman. “But, as expected, the wind started blowing hard out of the east around 10:00 in the morning.”
In his first year fishing the IFA Kayak Tour, Judson Miller, of Jacksonville, fought 30 mph winds in his kayak but measured a 22-inch redfish and a 21.25-inch trout to take the $500 third-place prize. Staying in the northern Jacksonville area, Miller fished exclusively with a jerkbait made of GULP!.
“The conditions were horrid,” said Miller. “I just kept throwing and throwing. It was pretty bad.”
Tenth-place finisher Rob Duerscheidt took home $100 for the Berkley GULP! Trout Award for his 24.50-inch speckled trout. For more information, visit www.ifakayakfishingtour.com.
IFA Florida East Coast Division Jacksonville, Fla. (Top 10)
1. Ryan Conner – 47.25 inches
2. John Chapman – 47.00 inches
3. Judson Miller – 43.25 inches
4. Justin Rienerth – 43.25 inches
5. Jeff Suber – 43.00 inches
6. Lonny Reid – 43.00 inches
7. Richard Mumford – 40.375 inches
8. Scott Harper – 25.50 inches
9. Frank Gregg – 24.50 inches
10. Rob Duerscheidt – 24.50 inches
$100 Berkley GULP! Big Redfish Award:
$100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout Award:
$200 Hobie Top Angler Cash Award: