Two Texans win IFA Redfish Tour Championship

Anthony Gagliano Jr., of Portland, Texas, and Mike Mazariegos, of La Porte, weighed a two-day total of 33.54 pounds to win the IFA Redfish Tour Championship at Houma, La., on Oct. 26.

The anglers won a Ranger boat and motor package valued at $45,000, and $3,493 in Anglers Advantage cash. Overall, the event paid out over $110,000 in cash and prizes.

Having fished the IFA Redfish Tour since its inception, Gagliano Jr. has his tried and true techniques when it comes to inshore fishing. But coming from Texas, the team was not familiar with the Houma waters and used a new tactic to research the region.

“Mike has fished in Venice a lot and he has the techniques down,” said Gagliano Jr. “But we weren’t very familiar with this area so we looked on Google for things Mike liked in Venice and tried to match similar areas around Houma. We rolled right into it.”

The anglers ran about 45 minutes to the Lost Lake area. Arriving at their fishing spot, it didn’t take long for the anglers to catch their limit by sight-fishing spinner baits and Berkley Gulp!. 

“The first day we rolled in there, we found some fish in a small slough,” said Gagliano Jr. “We made about five casts and caught four fish for 17 pounds.”

Going into the final day’s action, the anglers were in third place with 17.07 pounds. 

“The second day the fished moved quite a bit,” said Gagliano Jr. “In the two days of pre-fishing the tide was ripping out but the water didn’t drop drastically. The northern that came through blew the water out. We knew the tide drop was going to send them into all the sloughs and we just found mouths of sloughs that would drain in lakes and the fish were there. “

Despite being unfamiliar with the Houma area, the anglers credit years of experience to being the key to their win. 

“I fish the Corpus Christi area and it has sloughs just like the tournament waters, the grass is just different,” said Gagliano Jr. “Fishing sloughs and understanding how the tide affects the fish was the key to catching them.”

Second-place finishers were Monty Peters, of Vera Beach, Fla., and Tony Vercillo, of Fort Pierce, Fla. The anglers finished one-hundredth of a pound behind the winning anglers with a two-day weight total of 33.53 pounds. 

Paul Dufrene, of Cut Off, La., and Jay Cedotal, of Prairieville, La., won a total of $4,350 for their efforts. With two Cabela’s Team of the Year titles under their belt, the anglers leaned on their experience despite not having a chance to pre-fish. 

“We are very pleased, as we didn’t get to scout the week before,” said Dufrene. “So we were extremely lucky to have the two days that we had.”

Sight-fishing grass flats and jigging outer edges with scented plastics, the anglers changed things up once a cold front moved through.

“The cold front that moved in caused the water to drop fast,” said Dufrene. “We had to change our game plan and fish different areas. We fished run-offs once the tide dropped.”

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