Event pays out more than $53,000 in winnings
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Michael Herzog and Scott Smith, both of North Fort Myers, Florida, weighed a two-redfish limit that totaled 13.61 pounds to win the first regular-season event for the Florida West Division of the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Cabela’s on March 5 at Punta Gorda, Florida. The team took home a brand new Ranger 1862 with Yamaha outboard, valued at $25,999.
The winning anglers ran 12 miles to fish their home waters around Pine Island.
“We just beat the flats with scattered fish tossing Gulp! shrimp and a jighead,” Herzog said.
The winds were up a bit more than the anglers preferred, but the team was happy with their performance.
“It went better than expected,” said Herzog. “I planned on catching two to three fish today and ended up boating nine or 10.”
Brandon Buckner, of Fort Myers, Florida, and Mark Sepe, of DeLand, Florida, brought 13.08 pounds to the scales to win the $4,063 second-place prize. The anglers benefited from the Angler Advantage program and added an extra $2,827 in contingency winnings.
“We ran the 90 minutes to Pine Island Sound,” said Buckner. “It was very rough in the morning in the shallow water. We were fishing on a small number of the right fish. We were able to capitalize on a small number of opportunities.”
Buckner and Sepe caught their limit by sight-fishing with soft plastics.
Third-place finishers Chris Magnan, of Fort Myers, Florida, and Kyle Potts, of Bokeelia, Florida, brought in 12.95 pounds of redfish to win a total of $3,876. The pair traveled 15 miles to fish the east wall of Charlotte Harbor.
“Today was very tough,” said Magnan. “The fish were spooky with the early sight-fishing conditions.”
The anglers concentrated on sight-casting the shallows and blind-casting into potholes with soft baits and Berkley Gulp! shrimp.
“I’m excited with a great start to the year,” said Magnan. “It was a great tournament with more events to come.”
Fifth-place finishers Rick Murphy and Geoff Page won the $500 Berkley Big Fish Award for their 7.64-pound redfish.
The next stop for the IFA Redfish Tour is at Fernandina, Florida, for the first regular-season stop of the Florida East Division of the IFA Redfish Tour on March 19. All teams that entered a minimum of two events and competed in at least one event will qualify for the 2016 IFA Redfish Tour championship.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Cabela’s, Lucas Oil, Yamaha Outboards, RAM, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, BoatU.S., Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, SuperClean, Valley Fashions, ENGEL Coolers, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice Powertex Group and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Laishley Park Marina.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com.
IFA Redfish Tour – Florida West Division
Punta Gorda, Fla. (Top 10)
- Michael Herzog/Scott Smith – 13.61 lbs.
- Brandon Buckner/Mark Sepe – 13.08 lbs.
- Chris Magnan/Kyle Potts – 12.95 lbs.
- Jeremy Heimes/Travis Hancock – 12.95 lbs.
- Rick Murphy/Geoff Page – 12.62 lbs.
- Brady Nelson/Jason Dozier – 12.48 lbs.
- Michael Delagarza/T.J. Stewart – 11.35 lbs.
- Allen Thrun/Chris Weldon – 11.33 lbs.
- Jimmy Adams/Angela Adams – 10.85 lbs.
- Mark Dillingham/William Burbach – 10.85 lbs.