Texans dominate on coast at IFA events

aahennebelcherIt was an IFA tournament weekend in Port Aransas.

Justin Henne, of Round Rock and Scott Belcher, of Corpus Christi weighed in a two-redfish limit that totaled 17.33 pounds to win the second event of the season for the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Cabela’s at Port Aransas on April 13.

The anglers topped a field of 85 boats to take home a fully-rigged Ranger Banshee Extreme, valued at $30,000. The event paid out over $55,000 in total winnings, an impressive 200-percent payback.

The winning anglers faced calm winds early with 20-25 mph winds blowing later in the day. The team ran about 35 miles south to their preferred fishing area.

“We sight-fished while drifting over shallow grass flats using six-inch, white Berkley Gulp! jerk shads,” said Henne. “Overall, we performed well with no hiccups.”

The team boated a 9.30-pound redfish to win the $500 big fish award.

Second-place finishers Jimmy Lloyd, of Portland, Texas, and Jimmy Burns, of Victoria brought 17.10 pounds to the scales during the event. In addition to the $3,302 second-place prize, the anglers added $2,680 in Anglers Advantage cash to their winnings.

Kyle Burges, of Port Aransas and Jayson Arnold, of Buda weighed a total of 16.81 pounds to take the $2,064 third-place prize. In their sixth year fishing the IFA the anglers concentrated their efforts in the upper Laguna Madre area. The anglers sight-casted with weedless spoons and scented plastics.

“The wind picked up around noon, making it difficult to locate the schools,” said Burges. “Overall it was a pretty good day. We had a couple of fish that were a little too long and a couple that were close to the 28-inch slot limit but we got all of the bites into the boat.”

Kayak division

Clayton Henson, of San Antonio caught a redfish and speckled sea trout that measured a combined 51.75 inches in length to win the second event of the season for the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour presented by Hobie Fishing at Port Aransas on April 14.

After fishing the IFA Kayak Tour for three years, the Port Aransas event marks Henson’s first IFA tournament win. The angler fished islands and drops for trout while concentrating on potholes and flats for redfish.

“The weather was great, no wind and good clarity,” said Henson. “I was done by 10 a.m. It was an awesome day and I’m very excited for the next event.”

Finishing a close second, James Juarez, of Corpus Christi measured a total of 51.50 inches to take home the $1,000 second-place prize. The angler fished in the Laguna Madre area using top-water baits early and plastics later. This was Juarez’s first time competing in any IFA event.

“Overall, it was a great event,” said Juarez. “The weather was great and made for a lot of fun.”

Juarez added an extra $100 by winning the Berkley Big Trout award for his 27-inch trout.

Paul Martinez, winner of the 2012 IFA Kayak event in Port Aransas, measured a total of 50.88 inches to win the $500 third-place prize. Out of Corpus Christi, the angler fished around the Pita Island area, first with top-water baits then transitioning to plastic baits later in the day. The angler also won the $100 Berkley Big Redfish award for boating his 29.13-pound redfish.

Cody Phillips took sixth place and won the $200 Hobie Top Angler award for having the highest place finish for an angler competing in a Hobie Kayak.