NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (May 21, 2019) – Derek Engle, of Spring Hill, Florida, measured a combined limit of 49.75 inches to win the first regular-season event for the 2019 Florida West Division of the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour on May 19 at Crystal River, Florida.
A very familiar name on top of the leaderboard, Engle adds another IFA Kayak Tour to the litany of accomplishments on the tour. Although Engle lives on the west coast of Florida, the angler is currently leading the Florida East IFA Kayak Divisional Angler of the Year race. This win along with a good showing at the upcoming event at Steinhatchee, Florida, and the championship event in Louisiana, Engle will have a great opportunity to sweep the state divisional titles in the same year.
“I don’t think that has happened before,” said Engle. “I am hoping to do well at Steinhatchee and taking west coast and east coast titles. I am really hoping to pull it off.”
Engle put in north of the Crystal River launch to find a tough bite and slow fishing. Wanting to throw top-water baits but finding lots of surface grass, the angler was forced to switch to soft plastics.
“It started out real slow,” said Engle. “We weren’t seeing any mullet or anything. I made the change to a soft plastic shrimp under a popping cork and pulled in my trout on that.”
He turned to target redfish without much luck for the next few hours before hooking up a quality redfish with approximately 45 minutes left. Unfortunately, the redfish came unbuttoned 10 feet from the boat.
“It was pretty devastating,” said Engle. “I still didn’t have a red on the board and knew that would mean being top three or back to zero. I kept grinding and ended up sticking a 29 ¾-inch red. Those were literally the only two legal fish I caught all day. I got pretty lucky catching the two right fish.”
Taking advantage of the many opportunities provided by contingency programs, Engle added $228 in Anglers Advantage cash and his 29.75-inch redfish was the longest of the tournament, earning him the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish award for a total of $1,428 in winnings.
Second-place finisher Marvin Engle, of Spring Hill, Florida, measured a combined length of 49.00 inches to win $445. The angler fished clean water with top-water batis and soft plastics. His 21-inch trout was the longest of the event, giving him the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Trout award.
Darren Frost, of Melbourne, Florida, measured a 28-inch redfish and a 19.25-inch trout to take third place. Frost targeted his limit with top-water baits and took home $402 in winnings.
The next stop for the IFA Kayak Tour is Georgetown, South Carolina, on July 20. Anglers who enter at least two events and compete in at least one event will be qualified for the 2019 IFA Kayak Tour Championship.
The fastest-growing kayak fishing tournament trail in the country, the IFA Kayak Fishing Tour 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 www.ifatours.com.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Mercury Marine, Garmin, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Navionics, Power-Pole, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice, and Powertex Group.
IFA Kayak Tour – Florida West Division
Crystal River, Fla. (Top 10)
- Derek Engle – 49.75 inches
- Marvin Engle – 49.00 inches
- Daren Frost – 47.25 inches
- Trent Steege – 43.50 inches
- Eugene Holler – 43.00 inches
- Joe Stoddard – 42.25 inches
- Michael Vu – 41.50 inches
- Eric Henson – 40.63 inches
- Ronnie Orcutt – 39.00 inches
- Joe Forsythe – 35.00 inches