NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Mike Lauer and Jessie Craddock, both of Port Charlotte, Florida, weighed a two-fish limit that totaled 14.73 pounds to win the first regular-season event for the Florida East Division of the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s on February 8, at Titusville, Florida. The team won a fully rigged Ranger RB190 boat prize package powered by a 90-horsepower, four-stroke Mercury outboard.
A cold front and low water blasted the Titusville area and made a tough day for IFA Redfish Tour anglers.
“It was cold and windy, but we prepared for it,” said Lauer. “We had a strong game plan and stuck to it.”
The team dead-sticked Berkley Gulp shrimp and crabs off a school of redfish found in the north lagoon. On an otherwise slow day of fishing for most teams, Lauer and Craddock’s game plan worked with the duo pulling in two of the three 7-plus pound fish weighed during competition. The anglers’ 7.63-pounder was the heaviest of the day, winning the $500 Berkley Big Redfish award, along with $250 in credit to the Berkley website. In total, the team took home $27,750 in winnings.
Second-place finishers Jeremy King, of Fleming Island, Florida, and Jimmy Frangos, of Green Cove Springs, weighed a total of 11.95 pounds. The low water also affected the anglers, who made a quick change of plans.
“The water was too low to fish where we were going to fish, so we went to our second plan,” King said.
Running only two miles south of the takeoff ramp, the team sight-fished culverts and deep mangrove pockets with soft plastics. Despite being greenhands to the IFA Redfish Tour, the duo felt like they accomplished their goal and took home $3,301 for their efforts.
“We are happy with how it turned out,” said King. “We’ve only fished four tournaments so it’s nice to place second.”
Patrick Rood, of Osteen, Florida, and Nathaniel Lemmon, of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, weighed a total of 11.78 pounds to win the $2,063 third-place prize. The anglers tossed spoons to spooky pods of redfish that had dropped off flats and reported slow fishing in Mosquito Lagoon area due to the low water level.
The team took advantage of the Anglers Advantage contingency program and added $2,205 and more than doubled their winnings for a total of $4,268.
The next stop for the IFA Redfish Tour is set for Steinhatchee, Florida, on March 7. Teams that compete in at least two regular-season events will be qualified for the 2020 IFA Redfish Tour Championship.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Bass Pro Shops, Ascend, Ranger Boats, Cabela’s, Mercury Marine, Lucas Oil, AFTCO, Sunline, Garmin, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Navionics, Power-Pole, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice, and Powertex Group.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com.
IFA Redfish Tour – Florida East Division
Titusville, Fla. (Top 10)
- Michael Lauer/Jessie Craddock – 14.73 .lbs
- Jeremy King/Jimmy Frangos – 11.95 .lbs
- Patrick Rood/Nathaniel Lemmon – 11.78 .lbs
- Gary Bell/Aron Dill – 11.42 .lbs
- Matthew Preston/Patrick Preston – 11.12 .lbs
- Colin Willis/Zachary Young – 10.93 .lbs
- Monty Peters/Lora Peters – 10.66 .lbs
- Copeland More/Graham Taylor – 10.62 .lbs
- Fred Walker/Maureen Walker – 10.29 .lbs
- Stephen Roberts/Leland Roberts – 10.22 .lbs