The Inshore Fishing Association's (IFA) 2009 Redfish Tour sponsored by Cabela's kicked off the saltwater tournament season in Charleston. This tournament enjoys a strong turnout in Charleston and is one of the IFA's strongest Atlantic Division tournaments, which has been visiting the Lowcountry for several years. A field of anglers from S.C., N.C. and Ga. saw gusty winds but mild temperatures greet them, as the two-man teams fished for red drum using only artificial lures, as stipulated by tourney rules. This is strictly a catch and release tournament for redfish and all fish are measured to be within the legal slot limit of 15 to 23 inches. Tournament official Mike Lott said, "The redfish limit is different in every state we visit, and we are real careful with all our fish." Based out of Macon, Georgia the Redfish Tour means business when it comes to prizes, awarding a new Ranger boat to the first place winner and cash prizes for the top eleven places. Captain Ben Alderman took home $400 for his team's eleventh place finish. The sixth place team of Kirby Marshall and Sean Elko took home $3000 and Marshall accounted for $1500 of that when he caught the BIG FISH of the tournament, a very nice 5.34-pound redfish. The third place team of David Gasque and Justin Lehy took home $1200 for a two fish aggregate weight of 7.11-pounds. James Moore and Stan Allen took home $1500 for second place with 7.37-pounds of redfish weighed in. Isle of Palms' Captain J.R. Waits and fishing partner Hylan Furnis finished in first place with two redfish totaling 7.97-pounds, good for the new Ranger boat valued at $30,000. Lowcountryoutdoors.com extends CONGRATS to this local team! Captain Waits said, "We fished North of IOP in clear water along the edge of the ICW, and my previous best finish in this tournament was fifth place."
My photos show Furnis Hylan and Captain Waits with their first place hardware and Ranger boat title, Big Fish angler and Charleston reident Kirby Marshall, and a father and son team showing off their redfish - with the son getting bragging rights over Dad! My VIDEO show the winning team recounting the day's events.