Winning team takes home more than $13,000

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (August 25, 2017) – Danny Sheldon, of Newberry, Florida, and Justin Collison, of Slidell, Louisiana, weighed a two-day limit that totaled 31.95 pounds to win the final IFA Lucas Oil Redfish Open presented by Cabela’s on August 19 at Empire, Louisiana. The premier team event paid out more than $32,000 in total winnings and will be featured on multiple television networks early next year.

Sheldon and Collison are both longtime IFA Tour tournament anglers, but 2017 is their first full season competing together as a team. The combo has proved to be an effective match with a third-place showing at the first IFA Open event at St. Bernard Parish and a regular-season win at Houma earlier this month.

“It’s kind of crazy,” said Sheldon. “We have worked hard to try and win one of these things. They are really hard to win because there are so many good fishermen and it’s so competitive nowadays. So to win two in a row is really exciting.”

Sheldon says the conditions, including low water levels, made for a tough bite.

“I think part of it is, that it’s just August,” said Sheldon. “The water was low in a lot of places and that makes it worse when it is low and hot.”

An uncommon west wind also plagued the anglers. Many redfish anglers drift with the wind while fishing. IFA anglers that sight-fish while drifting have to face the rising sun each morning, creating more difficulties to overcome.

“We usually fish with the sun at our backs,” said Sheldon. “When it’s blowing too hard to go against it, you got to go with it or you’ll spook the fish. It was just another obstacle to deal with.”

Despite the unfavorable conditions, the team made the run to fish the Delacroix marshes.

“The first day we caught all of our fish on either Gulp! or another swimbait,” said Sheldon. “We were fishing as shallow as our boat would go. The fish just wanted to be shallow. It was tough. The fish were real skittish.”

The anglers brought in a day-one limit of 16.51 pounds, which gave them the lead going into day two. The anglers opted to return to their productive spots in the Delacroix marshes on day two despite early closings of the locks, which would condense the team’s fishing time.

“We did the exact same thing,” said Sheldon. “We fished three separate areas both days. The locks closing early really cut into our fishing time. We didn’t even have our weigh fish in the boat until 30 minutes before we had to leave.”

Although the team didn’t have much time to fish, the anglers managed to bring in 15.44 pounds for a two-day total of 31.95, just 12 tenths of a pound more than the second-place finishers. The victory netted the anglers a total of $13, 875. The win also gave the anglers the IFA Lucas Oil Redfish Open Team of the Year title. The anglers will receive custom Lucas Oil rings and paid entry fees for the 2018 season.

“We were really excited,” said Sheldon. “We had a couple of goals at the beginning of the year. One of them was to win an IFA tournament. We did that in Houma. One of our other goals was to try and win team of the year.”

The anglers now have their sights set on the upcoming IFA Redfish Tour Championship set for October 13-14.

Second-place finishers Tadd VanDemark, of Cape Coral, Florida, and Nick Drangle, of Tampa, Florida, weighed 31.83 pounds to win a total of $7,237 in winnings. The anglers ran 10 miles, fishing soft plastics.

Chris Henninger and John Henninger, both of Jacksonville, Florida, brought 31.56 pounds of redfish to the scale, giving the anglers third place and $5,462 in winnings. The team sight-fished with Berkley Gulp! in the Delacroix area.

The next stop for the IFA Tour presented by Cabela’s will be at Ruskin, Florida, on September 9-10.

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
Empire, La. (Top 10)

1. Danny Sheldon/Justin Collison – 31.95 lbs.
2. Tadd VanDemark/Nick Drangle – 31.83 lbs.
3. John Henninger/Chris Henninger – 31.56 lbs.
4. Nicky Savoie/Trent Brady – 31.35 lbs.
5. Glenn Finley/Dodd Wood – 30.53 lbs.
76 Fred Myers/Sean O’Connell – 29.92 lbs.
7. Hunter Shaffett/RP Scritchfield – 29.82 lbs.
8. Pierre Dubord/Ronney Smith – 29.82 lbs.
9. Barrett McMullan/Brant McMullan – 29.42 lbs.
10. Trevor Taylor/Bill Burke – 28.31 lbs.