Team Akin/Eschete Wins IFA Redfish Tour Championship at Hopedale, Louisiana
IFA Redfish Tour championship event pays out more than $106,000
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (October 30, 2018) – Kevin Akin, of Corpus Christi, Texas, and Dwayne Eschete, of Alvin, Texas, weighed four redfish that totaled 35.31 pounds to win the 2018 championship event for the IFA Redfish Tour presented by Cabela’s on October 27 at Hopedale, Louisiana. The team won a fully rigged Ranger 2260 Ranger Bay Boat prize package powered by a 150-horsepower Mercury outboard valued at $43,795 for first place.
Akins and Eschete are accustomed to taking the podium at an IFA Redfish Tour event with three previous tour wins. The anglers make this their first championship win and did so by grinding it out both days in the Venice and Pointe á la Hache areas.
“We knew we were in a good area,” said Eschete. “We knew we had good fish there. It was all about being patient and waiting for the fish come to us and not try to force it. We didn’t see the bigger fish that we thought we would see.”
Despite cloudy and windy conditions on day one, Akins and Eschete managed to boat 17.60 pounds to start off day two in second place. Day two brought clear and sunny skies but the team still fought a tough bite.
“The spot we fish, we been fishing for a few years,” said Eschete. “It’s let us down a lot, but today it paid off. We fished slow, slower than we like.”
The team caught all of their fish on a Berkley Gulp! Morning Glory Ripple Mullet in black and chartreuse and white and chartreuse.
“It’s kind of one of those things that I don’t throw in pre-fishing a lot,” said Akin. “You can lay it on the bottom and they can pick it up and give you another opportunity to catch a fish. That’s why we like it so much. I would say we got lucky today and it’s nice when that happens.”
Along with their brand-new Ranger 2260 boat and motor package, Akins and Eschete took home an additional $3,825 in Anglers Advantage cash.
Second-place finishers Ryan Rickard, of Brandon, Florida, and Dustin Tillett, of Lakeland, Florida, weighed a combined total of 34.88 pounds. The team brought 17.78 pounds to the scales on day one to give them the lead going into the final day.
“A few more ounces would have helped,” said Tillett. “It was a grind today for us.”
With high pressure moving into the area for day two, the anglers had a difficult time finding their fish.
“It affected the fish in the area we wanted to be in,” said Rickard. “Those fish left so we had to scramble. We found a pocket toward the end of the day. It was loaded up, but we didn’t have enough time to stick any more big ones.”
Rickard and Tillett weighed 17.10 pounds on day two to take home a Ranger RB190 with a 90-horsepower Mercury outboard. The anglers added $2,104 in Anglers Advantage cash for a total of $29,104 in winnings.
Former 2016 IFA Redfish Tour Champions Britt Ordes, of Pearl River, Louisiana, and Travis Land, of Seguin, Texas, weighed a two-day total of 33.65 pounds to win $4,046. The anglers sight-fished Berkley Gulp! in the Venice area and also experience trouble getting bites due to the change in conditions.
“We still had a great day today, but that high pressure and that big moon last night had the fish on another level,” said Ordes. “We had a lot of refusals. We just kept our heads down and grinded all day. Right at the end, we caught the two fish we needed.”
Casey Brunning and Ty Hibbs competed as the Louisiana Divisional Team of the Year and placed fourth in the championship, giving the anglers 590 points to win the 2018 IFA Redfish Team of the Year award. The team won $5,000 in cash from Cabela’s and paid entry fees for the 2019 season.
“We were fortunate to stay consistent this year,” said Brunning. “The stars aligned; no breakdowns, no late show-ups. We were pre-fishing the way we should. We are happy it happened this way.”
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Cabela’s, Mercury Marine, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice, Navionics, Garmin and Powertex Group.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com.
IFA Redfish Tour – Championship
Hopedale, Louisiana (Top 10)
- Kevin Akin/Dwayne Eschete – 35.31 .lbs
- Ryan Rickard/Dustin Tillett – 34.88 .lbs
- Britt Ordes/Travis Land – 33.65 .lbs
- Casey Brunning/Ty Hibbs – 33.12 .lbs
- JD Nobles/Kyle Craven – 32.92 .lbs
- Brandon Treadaway/Mac McElroy – 32.79 .lbs
- Jeremy Heimes/Mickey Gibbs – 32.70 .lbs
- Mark Cowart/Michael Cowart – 32.64 .lbs
- TJ Kiefer/Tony Vercillo – 32.51 .lbs
- Gus Wilson/Gary Wilson – 32.42 .lbs