Winning team takes home more than $13,000
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (June 13, 2017) – Gritter Griffin, of Troy, Alabama, and Erik Nelson weighed a two-day limit that totaled 35.97 pounds to win the first IFA Lucas Oil Redfish Open presented by Cabela’s on June 10 at St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. The premier team event paid out more than $37,000 in total winnings and will be featured on multiple television networks early next year.
Louisiana lived up to its reputation as the “Redfish Capitol of the World” during the Open event with anglers bringing heavy bags each day of the event. The high-stakes tournament brought together some of the finest redfish anglers in the U.S. and it showed with the top-10 teams separated by a mere 1.28 pounds after day one.
“We had some amazing competition,” said Griffin. “I was shocked when I saw the roster at the captain’s meeting. These are some of the best guys out there.”
Griffin and Nelson sat one thousandth of a pound off of first place going into day two.
“I thought we had a good chance to stay in the top three,” said Griffin. “I told my partner that if we can do 17.80 pounds, we can win this thing. At that weight, I didn’t think we could get beat. The water was going to fall a little bit and the wind changed to the south. Things are going to change, but our fish weren’t going to be impacted as much as the other guys because we were way inland.”
The team fished Shu Shu craws both days in the Biloxi Marsh.
“It’s sort of an isolated area of pond system that’s not affected as much by the water fall and wind,” said Griffin. “I felt that we had a great chance for our fish to stay where they were.”
Although the area offered quality fish, the bite was finicky with many refusals from the redfish. Griffin only explanation was the possibility of the full moon providing ample light for the fish to feed throughout the night.
“You would see the fish and pitch but they would turn up their nose at it,” said Griffin. “We had a very bright, full moon. The fish can eat all night long. When you get there first thing in the morning, they are still on the feed but then they shut down for hours. It would be after noon before they would start back up.”
The team eventually filled their limit with two quality fish and headed back to the weigh-in hoping it would be enough for their first win. Griffin and Nelson weighed two nine-plus-pound redfish and took the win by just over one pound.
“I’ve been doing this for 18 years,” said Griffin. “You can pick any number between two and 50 and I’ve landed on it a dozen times each, but I have never had that number one. It was a pretty big deal.”
Griffin has fished just about every redfish circuit created but feels the IFA Open events offer the most fun.
“The reason it’s fun is the entry fee is low enough for people to play so you get the best guys showing up,” said Griffin. “Also, it is well run. Everything done at this tournament was done on time. It was the way it should be. The blast off was on time every day. The weigh-in was on time every day. Those things are hard to do in the tournament world, but they pulled it perfectly.”
Griffin and Nelson won the $13,163 first-place prize and added another $500 for the Big Redfish award. The win also puts them in first place for the Lucas Oil Redfish Team of the Year standings.
Second-place finishers Chad Dufrene, of St. Bernard, Louisiana, and Barnie White, of Brewton, Alabama, weighed a two-day total of 34.92 to win $6,413 along with $1,875 in Anglers Advantage cash. The duo ran to Delacroix and sight-fished swimbaits each day.
“We had a great two days,” said Dufrene. “Thanks to the IFA and staff for another great event.”
Danny Sheldon, of Newberry, Florida, and Justin Collison, of Slidell, Louisiana, round out the top three with their two-day total of 33.77 pounds. The team reported good conditions in the Delacroix area where the team sight-fished with Berkley Gulp! shrimp. The anglers won a total of $6,998 for their efforts.
The next IFA Lucas Oil Redfish Open event is set for Aug. 18-19 at Empire, Louisiana. More details are available at ifatours.com/open, with registrations being accepted by phone at 478-836-4266.
The IFA Redfish Tour would like to thank the Hopedale Marina, Los Islenos Heritage Center, and the St. Bernard Parish Tourist Commission for their local support.
IFA events are made possible through the sponsorship and continued support of these well-respected brands: Hobie Fishing, Ranger Boats, Cabela’s, Lucas Oil, Mercury Marine, RAM, Berkley Gulp!, Berkley Gulp! Alive!, PENN Reels, Spiderwire, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Power-Pole, Arctic Ice, Protect the Harvest, General Tire, Valley Fashions, T-H Marine, ATLAS, G-Juice, Powertex Group, and Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, Hopedale Marina, Los Islenos Heritage and Cultural Society and the St. Bernard Parish Tourist Commission.
For more information or to become a member of the IFA, visit www.ifatours.com.
IFA Lucas Oil Redfish Open
St. Bernard Parish, La. (Top 10)
- Gritter Griffin/Erik Nelson – 35.97 lbs.
- Chad Dufrene/Barnie White – 34.92 lbs.
- Justin Collison/Danny Sheldon – 33.77 lbs.
- Fred Myers/Sean O’Connell – 33.40 lbs.
- Ryan Rickard/Graham Taylor – 33.33 lbs.
- Chad Billiot/Kevin Akin – 33.00 lbs.
- Christopher Pike/Rob Brown – 32.79 lbs.
- Nicky Savoie/Trent Brady – 32.50 lbs.
- Trevor Taylor/Bill Burke – 32.22 lbs.
- Randy Lane/Joe Wortham – 32.09 lbs.