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Winning angler lands 44-inch redfish

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. - Craig Brown, of Prairieville, Louisiana, measured a combined limit of 60.88 inches to win the first regular-season event for the Louisiana Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing on May 31 at Lafitte, Louisiana. The angler won a total of $2,804, including a Power-Pole Micro Anchor for his first-place finish.

Brown spent a few days pre-fishing in the Grand Isle area with his friend and eventual third-place finisher Elliot Stevens. While finding nice-sized trout, Brown struggled to locate any decent redfish. So the angler decided on a 'go big or go home' strategy along with Stevens.

'This is a really good area,' said Brown. 'It's not widely known by everyone but a lot of the local guys know that this place holds some pretty good redfish early in the year. It's hit or miss and that's why it's one of those decision where you're going to score or you're not.'

Brown began the day with a few smaller redfish before turning to concentrate on getting a trout. After landing a few decent trout, he began to hunt for a quality redfish to insure a spot on the leaderboard.

'The big thing with this spring tournament is someone always seems to bring in a 22- or 23-inch trout,' said Brown. 'I had a couple of small bulls and a 16-inch trout but I knew that wouldn't put me at the top of the leaderboard.'

Jigging deep with Berkley Gulp!, Brown and his buddy, Stevens, both hit huge redfish at the same time.

'Elliot and I actually hooked up at the exact same time,' said Brown. 'We were probably within 100 yards of each other when we hooked up and both redfish ran towards each other. We were worried we were going to cross lines so we both started peddling in opposite directions.'

Brown's 44.13-inch redfish won him the $100 Berkley Big Redfish award and the $300 PENN Reels contingency prize. The angler credited his equipment and baits for his success in landing the prize-winning lunker.

'PENN makes awesome reels,' said Brown. 'I fought that redfish for 30 minutes. He tested the reel and every bit of the equipment I had. And Gulp! was key too. If you aren't bouncing the big six-inch Gulp! curly tails on the bottom, you'll miss them.'

Veteran IFA angler Steve Lessard measured a 33.50-inch redfish and 21.50-pound speckled sea trout to claim second place.

Lessard has many kayak tournament wins under his belt, including the 2013 IFA Kayak Tour championship, and most recently, he beat some of the best kayak anglers in the world for the title of 2014 Hobie Fishing Worlds Champion. The Geismar, Louisiana angler concentrated on the Grand Isle area to fish a myriad of baits that included Berkley Gulp! on a jig, suspended twitch baits and hardbaits.

Lessard won the $1,000 second-place prize and added $252 in Anglers Advantage cash.

Elliot Stevens, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, measured a total combined length of 54.25 inches to win third place. The angler experienced calm and clear waters in the Grand Isle area and fished with Berkley Gulp! on a jig, ultimately taking home $728 for his efforts.

Eighth-place finisher Matthew Vann brought in a 22.50-inch speckled sea trout to win the $100 Berkley Big Trout award.

The next stop for the IFA Kayak Tour is Aug. 2 at Houma, Louisiana. Anglers who enter a minimum of two events and compete in at least one event will be qualified for the 2015 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.

For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit To discover more about kayaking and Hobie Fishing go to

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, Amphibia, Arctic Ice, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, Bob's Machine Shop, SuperClean, Mustang Survival, iON Cameras, Valley Fashions, ENGEL Coolers, Bulldog Folding Trailers, Hildebrandt, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice Powertex Group, Audubon Aquarium of the Americas and Team Laffite Harbor.

IFA Kayak Tour - Louisiana Division

Lafitte, La. (Top 10)

Craig Brown - 60.88 inches

Steve Lessard - 55.00 inches

Elliot Stevens - 54.25 inches

Benton Parrott - 53.38 inches

Wayne Lobb - 50.25 inches

Elizabeth Saylor - 48.50 inches

Chuck Bahan - 43.63 inches

Matthew Vann - 40.25 inches

Chris Cox - 37.00 inches

Brendan Bayard - 35.00 inches

June 10, 2015 at 5:57am
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