Winning angler takes home $1,500 in cash plus $1,050 in contingency winnings
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, FL – Rene Lopez, of Port Aransas, Texas,, measured a combined limit of 53 inches to win the first regular-season event for the Texas Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing on April 3 at Port Aransas, Texas. The angler won a total of $2,550, including a $250 Power-Pole gift certificate for his first-place finish.
Lopez managed to turn bad luck into an IFA Kayak Tour win at Port Aransas. The plan to fish both the IFA Redfish and Kayak events was sidetracked by boat issues. Lopez made the most of his day with a late pre-fishing trip to prep for Sunday’s kayak competition.
“Originally I was supposed to fish on Saturday and Sunday,” said Lopez. “I couldn’t compete because I was having boat problems early in the day. Thankfully, I managed to fix it and I used the rest of the day to scout out for Sunday.”
Lopez reported good conditions with a west wind during the 6.3-mile trip. The angler concentrated on flats with a top-water bait in the morning along with Berkley Gulp! Jerkshad and clear minnows later in the day.
“I traveled three miles one way to get on the reds,” said Lopez. “I knew where they were and went for it.
Lopez’s final redfish measured 34 inches and his trout measured 19 inches. The angler was happy about turning a potentially bad weekend into a victory and said the IFA experience was exceptional.
“It is a pretty neat accomplishment to win out of 54 anglers, especially in my home town of Port Aransas,” said Lopez. “The IFA is a very well run tournament. I love how it is set up for every type of angler.”
Shane Okrasinki, of Bayside, Texas, measured a 32-inch redfish and a 20.25-inch speckled sea trout to win the $1,000 second-place prize and added $350 in Anglers Advantage cash. The angler fished popping cork and Berkley Gulp! in Corpus Christi bay, traveling a total of two miles.
David Norris, of Corpus Christi, Texas, added another top-five finish to his five-year IFA Kayak Tour total. The angler measured a combined 49.50 inches to take third place. The angler fished in the Corpus Christi and Ingleside areas by jigging a shad for trout and throwing a gold spoon for redfish. Norris won $533 for his limit.
Fifth-place angler Albert Soto’s 24.25-inch trout won the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout award and 16th-place finisher James Tesch Jr. won both the $300 PENN Reel Contingency and $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish Award for his 35-inch redfish.
The next stop for the IFA Kayak Tour is May 1 at Georgetown, South Carolina. Anglers who enter a minimum of two events and compete in at least one event will be qualified for the 2016 IFA Kayak Tour championship.
The fastest-growing kayak fishing tournament trail in the country, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour Presented by Hobie Fishing events are catch-photograph-release tournaments, offering inshore kayak anglers from a multitude of states the opportunity to participate in competitive fishing tournaments with low entry fees and minimal travel requirements.
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.
IFA Kayak Tour – Texas Division
Port Aransas, Texas (Top 10)
Rene Lopez – 53.00 inches
Shane Okrasinki – 52.25 inches
David Norris – 49.50 inches
Fil Spencer – 48.50 inches
Albert Soto – 46.75 inches
Mason McWilliams – 45.38 inches
Rodney Adkins – 44.38 inches
John Kay – 44.13 inches
Alec Perez – 43.25 inches
Collin Elrod – 42.13 inches