Jamie Hough, of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and Ryan Tiernan, of Leesburg, Georgia, weighed a total of 34.02 pounds of redfish to win the IFA Redfish Tour Championship presented by Cabela's on Oct. 16 at St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. The anglers took home a fully rigged Ranger 220 Bahia with a Yamaha 150HP package, along with the Big Redfish award for a total of $42,880 in winnings.
"We probably saw 25 fish and caught 15 to 20 of them," said Hough. "We upgraded both of our fish right there. It was neat to catch both of our fish in a spot that we had never fished until the last two hours of the first day."
The team started day two in fifth place, just .60 pounds behind leaders Dufrene and White. With windy conditions on day two, Hough leaned on past tournament experience and decided to switch over to throwing a popping cork.
"Popping corks are kind of our thing when it's rough," said Hough. "That's what we did and caught our nine-pounder on our second cast. Five minutes later, I caught our other fish. We had 16.96 pounds within 30 minutes."
The decision to switch tactics vaulted the duo into first place.
"A lot of winning isn't luck," said Hough. "It's being prepared and having different strategies in your arsenal. You can't try to do the same thing if the conditions don't allow it."
Second-place finishers Mark Sepe, of DeLand, Florida, and Brandon Buckner, of Ft. Myers, Florida, weighed a total of 33.50 pounds. The anglers won a Ranger 1862CC with a Yamaha F70HP package, valued at $25,995.
The team fished soft plastics in the Delacroix area both days. Day one brought good weather and enabled the team to sight-fish and bring in 17.01 pounds. Day two the wind picked up, churning up the waters. The anglers changed their strategy to give themselves a chance to win.
"We did something that we never do, which was basically sit in one spot," said Sepe. "We knew a spot where the heavier fish were and set the Power-Pole down and fished the entire day in one spot. The fact that we were able to adapt that change in weather really helped us out."
In addition to their new Ranger boat, the anglers took home the coveted Cabela's Overall Team of the Year title. As the highest placing Divisional Team of the Year winners at the championship event, the pair won $5,000 courtesy of Cabela's.
"I've been doing this for a long time," said Sepe. "Anytime you win the Team of the Year, that shows the consistency over the season. If you win a tournament, you have beaten everyone in that particular area. But if you win Team of the Year, you have bested everybody over the course of a year. It's pretty special to win that."
The championship event fielded more than 100 boats and paid out $106,167 in winnings.
"The competition is great," said Sepe. "They always have big turnouts."
Long-time IFA Redfish Tour veterans Chad Dufrene, of Purvis, Mississippi, and Barnie White, of Brewton, Alabama, brought in a combined weight of 33.17 pounds to take third place and a total of $6,378.
IFA Redfish Tour - Championship Event
St. Bernard Parish, La. (Top 10)
IFA Redfish Tour Announces 2016 Schedule
Registration Begins January 4th!
The Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Redfish Tour presented by Cabela'srecently announced the 2016 tour schedule, complete with 200 percent payback at each event. The schedule includes two regular-season events in each of the tour's five divisions plus a two-day championship event.
The IFA Redfish Tour kicks off on March 5 at Punta Gorda, Florida, and wraps up the regular season at Georgetown, South Carolina, on Sept. 24. A two-day Tour Championship will be held following the regular season finale (exact dates and location coming soon). Official registration for the 2016 season will begin January 4. The field size for each event will be limited to the first 100 boats that register.
The IFA Redfish Tour will continue to offer an impressive 200 percent payback plus several lucrative contingency opportunities. A fully-rigged Ranger boat-motor-trailer package is guaranteed for first place at each regular season event. Also, for an additional $250, anglers can sign up for the Angler's Advantage program, which allows participants to compete in an even higher payout bracket.
2016 IFA Redfish Tour Schedule (subject to change)
April 30 - Georgetown, S.C.
Sept. 24 - Georgetown, S.C.
Florida East Division
March 19 - Fernandina, Fla.
Aug. 27 - New Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Florida West Division
March 5 - Punta Gorda, Fla.
Sept. 10 - Sarasota, Fla.
May 14 - Lafitte, La.
Aug. 6 - Houma, La.
April 2 - Port Aransas, Texas
Aug. 13 - Aransas Pass, Texas
Dates and location TBD