NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Brian Nelli of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, measured a combined limit of 63.00 inches to win the final regular-season event for the 2019 Florida East Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour on April 14 at New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
Nelli primarily fished top-water baits and reported the windy conditions affected his fishing. The angler swept the Berkley Gulp! Big Fish Awards with a 32.75-inch redfish and a 30.25-inch trout, which paid the angler an additional $200 courtesy of Berkley Gulp!. His total winnings of $1,654 included $354 in Anglers Advantage cash.
“It was amazing,” said Nelli. “It was one of the best days on the water.”
Second-place finisher Derek Engle, of Spring Hill, Florida, measured a combined total of 54.13 inches to take the $495 second-place prize. In just five years fishing the IFA Kayak Tour, Engle has shown great consistency by adding another top-three finish to go along with his multiple Angler of the Year titles.
The angler reported windy conditions but said he enjoys the higher winds when inshore fishing. Engle sight-fished in the Mosquito Lagoon and Indian River to catch his limit.
Justin Rienherth, of Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, adds another top-three finish to his two previous wins at Georgetown, South Carolina, and Jacksonville, Florida. The angler fished the lee banks with a jig and paddletail for reds and top-water baits for his trout.
“It was more windy than expected,” said Rienherth. “It just made getting from one spot to another very hard, but once I got to the spots, the fish were chewing really good.”
Rienherth found his trout in the Indian River and re-launched in the lagoon to find his redfish. He measured a 26-inch redfish and a 23-inch trout for a total of 49.00 inches to take third place and $486 in winnings.
“I am very happy with my results given the windy conditions,” said Rienherth. “My goal was to get 45 inches so I am glad I was able to make that happen.”
The next stop for the IFA Kayak Tour is Georgetown, South Carolina, on April 28. Anglers who enter at least two events and compete in at least one event will be qualified for the 2019 IFA Kayak Tour Championship.
The fastest-growing kayak fishing tournament trail in the country, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour 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.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visitwww.ifatours.com.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Mercury Marine, Garmin, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Navionics, Power-Pole, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice, and Powertex Group.
IFA Kayak Tour – Florida East Division
New Smyrna Beach, Fla. (Top 8)
Brian Nelli – 63.00 inches
Derek Engle – 54.13 inches
Justin Rienherth – 49.00 inches
Eric Henson – 45.75 inches
Van Nguyen – 45.25 inches
Darren Frost – 45.00 inches
Chris Clouser – 43.75 inches
Lennon Nguyen – 43.00 inches
Joe Komyati – 43.00 inches
Andrew Peterson – 42.50 inches