Baton Rougeon wins IFA Kayak Tour title
Brendan Bayard struck gold Sunday.
But he had to dig a long way to find the vein.
Paddling as far as five miles from the IFA Kayak Tour headquarters and launch on Grand Isle, the dedicated Baton Rouge “yaker” documented catching a single redfish and a single speckled trout that together measured 64.88 inches.
When all was said and done that afternoon, Bayard’s total was more than seven inches longer than the rest of the field and the $2,400 in cash and prizes meant he’s earned nearly $37 an inch for his efforts in the last 2013 regular-season event on IFA’s Louisiana tour.
Like most of the anglers, Bayard paddled out only to have to hunker down when a storm cell from a tropical system raked the Central Coast.
“I fished for trout on topwater and caught a few,” Bayard told the IFA.
When the storm subsided, he “moved and jigged deep for reds on a shelf and hooked up with a 45-inch red. I was shaking when I caught it.”
That red won the $100 Berkley Gulp! Big Redfish award, plus a $100 Cabela’s gift card because the fish came on a Gulp!
He said his near 20-inch-long trout came later in the day over a bed of oysters. The win followed the Hobie Team angler’s sweep at the Cocodrie event. He took home a $200 bonue from Hobie, too.
Geismar’s Steve Lessard was Bayard’s closest competitor. He boated a 411/2-inch red, a fish that wins most every other IFA Kayak tournament, and a near 16-inch trout for a 57 inches total and $1,250 in winnings. He reported catching his fish after seeking shelter from wind and rain behind Grand Isle. He said he used Gulp! on a jighead for his redfish and under a cork for the trout.
Scott Harper, of Montgomery, Ala., placed third, and Casey Brunning won the $100 bonus for the longest trout, a 203/4-incher.
Saturday, out-of-state anglers Chad Dufrene and Barnie White won a rigged-out Ranger Banshee, the top prize for IFA Redfish stop on Grand Isle. Their two reds weighed 16.47 pounds. They said they ran to a spot near Empire for their fish. Their 8.46-pounder was the heaviest of the day.
Slidell anglers Jacob Leininger and Jeff Rogers reported staying in the Grand Isle area for their second-place, 15.75-pound catch. They won $2,053.
Scouting for a story with Jeff Bruhl, Gary Krouse’s report from Lake Pontchartrain showed there’s a spark of action in the lake.
After virtually nothing stretched their lines hour after hour Tuesday in bayous off the lake, the two ventured out to check out huge raft of mullet.
Nothing there, too, but they spotted what Krouse described as glass minnows working the surface about 300 yards off the north shoreline near Bayou LaCombe.
Ladyfish, and still nothing to start the angling juices flowing.
Then, they let the jigged-up soft plastics go to the bottom, and that’s when the trip turned from bust to bonanza.
“Redfish were everywhere under the ladyfish, some reds over 28 inches,” Krouse said. “And there were (gafftopsail catfish) in with the redfish. I think we could have caught as many as we wanted, but we came home with a limit.”
The Gulf Council is meeting this week, and setting a fall recreational red snapper season is on the agenda.
The early report on the 28-day spring-summer season was that the recreational take was higher than expected. Despite an increase in the 2013 quota that came after the June 28 recreational-season close, Roy Crabtree, the federal fisheries overseer for the Southeast U.S., told al.com reporter Jeff Duke that the reported data could mean there will not be a recreational season as was expected to open Oct. 1.
Crabtree said the data needed further examination before a decision could be made.