IFA Kayak Tour Lands in South Louisiana
Right now is the time when anglers are cleaning out tackle boxes, pulling out their grandpas’ maps, and making phone calls and web searches in an attempt to sharpen their knowledge and skills around the marshes and bayous of Louisiana. Everyone’s in preparation for the season that will bring big weights of golden reds and large numbers of spots to the docks.
The third weekend in May was a special weekend for south Louisiana in that it was the opening event for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour, presented by Hobie. The event started the evening of May 18th with a captains meeting in Empire at Delta Marina and ended the evening of the 20th by paying out 13 places along with largest speckled trout and largest red fish, with cash awards ranging from $1,700 to $100.
This year there was a record breaking attendance for the tour with 67 participants and anglers traveling from as far away as south Texas and Florida. The IFA Kayak Fishing Tour is an event where anglers fish from kayaks under the power of self-propulsion, and have unlimited boundaries as long as you make it back to the weigh in location on time. Anglers fished as far as the Grand Isle and some were rumored to have fished the panhandle of Florida, while others chose to launch right out of Delta Marina.
This was my first IFA Tour event to take part in and I was impressed by the class and character of the anglers present. It wasn’t your usual “everything is a secret” atmosphere but more like a giant family reunion, where no one remembers your name, but is real quick to offer a handshake and some advice. In years past, I have avoided the larger, more commercialized events in large part due to intimidation of not wanting to embarrass myself, but this IFA Tour is different. From the ladies and gentlemen that run the event, to the anglers that compete in it, I felt like I walked into a home away from home. I have taken part in several kayak events from local charities to world championships in the Everglades of Florida, and I would put the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour up with the best of them when it comes to pay outs, character, class, and welcoming in new anglers. The only thing I regret is not getting involved with the IFA earlier.
While most tournaments are the heaviest weight, the IFA Kayak Tour is a Catch, Photo, Release (CPR) format where anglers must photograph their catch (1 spec & 1 red) on a standardized measuring board with a specially made IFA Token. Anglers must submit their time stamped photo cards to the board at “weigh in” to be reviewed and results are based on a total aggregate length. The results of the tour were scattered across the southeast with John Kay(TX) taking 1st overall and 1st largest redfish, Steve Neece(LA) 2nd, Casey Brunning(LA) 3rd, and Marty Mood(FL) largest Trout. 29 of 67 anglers submitted cards with total lengths ranging from 12.5 inches to 59.25 inches. If you put the numbers together, and my math is far from perfect, you have greater than a 20% chance to double your entry fee of $50 and when I look back at some of the tournaments I have fished, the odds of you winning your entry fee back is usually around 3.5%.
If you fish out of a kayak and have ever even considered entering a kayak tournament, you need to enter the next event the IFA will be hosting in Louisiana, located at the Bridge Side Marina in Grand Isle on August 25th. For more information regarding the IFA Tour Series, please visit http://www.ifatours.com. I hope to see you in Grand Isle.