This years IFA Championship was out of Hopedale, La. This is like 3 of the past 4 years for being there. We headed over on Saturday the 20th so we were expecting 5 days of pre- and 2 tournament days. Well I was 6 miles from home at 5 AM and got a flat on my truck. Needless to say I needed to wait until there was a tire shop open to either fix or replace. Thank goodness I had road hazard (which I usually dont do) so the tire was replaced along with two others which were wearing. So by 10:00 AM we were on the road again. I’m thinking oh crap we aren’t going to be there till 11:00 PM. I’m not sure how we did it but we arrived at the hotel in Chalmette at 6:30 pm. We got settled in and stowed our gear and began fishing early the next morning. Our plans were to fish 3 or 4 days our of Delacroix then fish the final pre day out of Hopedale. That didn’t totally work out as on Thursday before the tournament there were thunder storms and Tornado warnings. Soooooo we decided to go through our gear and be ready for Day 1. The morning of Day 1 it was beautiful, no wind, no clouds, just beautiful. So we headed out to the launch and put the boat in with the other 125 teams there for this event. The run from Hopedale was about 30 minutes in my boat so with number 65 drawn, we were 50% of the way through the group at checkout. We were in the 3rd flight so our check in was at 3:30 PM. We hit our No. 1 spot and were in the fish immediately. We were not even considering fish under 22″ so our first keeper came about 30 minutes into fishing. There had been a wind change the night before so the wind direction changed from the NE to the NW, doesn’t seem like much but the NE wind holds water in the marsh’s and the NW wind pushes it out. So on top of a different direction we had a pretty significant depth change, probably 15″-18″ lower. Well this isn’t usually much unless the water was 24″ the day before. Luckily the Spyder FX19TRC only draws 7-8″ loaded and we were able to get into most places that morning.
We fished and culled for that morning but the culls were just 1/10th of an oz. sometimes so we needed to get into somewhere that held a different size of fish totally. So we made a short run and came up with that space, except here we were catching fish 27 1/8″ – 32″ we were still drawing blanks but after weeding through a dozen or more over size fish we were able to hook into a couple of usable fish which were our last two upgrades.
Well we made it back to the weigh in on time and weighed in our 2 Redfish, our 1st day total was 13 lb. which put us in like 30th on day one.
Once again I’d like to thank my sponsors that made it possible for me to be there, Mud Hole Custom Tackle, Rothrock Marine, MHX Rods, Engel Coolers, Power Pole, THMarine, Florida Fishing Products.