Just a week after the Hobie Fishing Worlds wrapped up, Team USA captain Justin Carter and new champion Steve Lessard rushed to Houma, Louisiana for the IFA Kayak Tour Championship.
To their credit, they finished sixth and ninth respectively, no more than eight inches behind eventual IFA Championship winner Benton Parrott. The fishing at Grand Isle was stupendous. Elizabeth Saylor grabbed the day one lead with 62 inches, sliding to seventh at the end of the second and final day after adding another 56 inches. Benton Parrott was just too good, turning in a 64.65-inch day two red to surge into the lead.
The IFA Kayak Tour released this account of the event:
Parrott Wins IFA Kayak Tour Championship at Houma, Louisiana
Parrot wins Overall IFA Kayak Tour Angler of the Year
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (Oct. 20, 2014) – Benton Parrott, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, measured a combined two-day total of 124.28 inches in length to win the 2014 IFA Kayak Fishing Tour championship presented by Hobie Fishing at Houma, La., on Oct. 18. The angler won the first-place prize of a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak, valued at $2,549.
Parrott found ideal fishing conditions in the Grand Isle area where he fished early for his trout and spent the rest of his days upgrading redfish. The angler threw soft plastics, top-water baits and Berkley Gulp! for his limits each day.
In addition to the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak, Parrott was awarded a Power-Pole Micro Anchor for first place. The angler won numerous contingency prizes, including the $300 Big Redfish award with a $100 gift card to Cabela's, courtesy of Berkley, for catching his redfish with Berkley Gulp! and the $1,000 Hobie Top Angler award for having the highest placed finish for an angler competing out of a Hobie Kayak.
Parrott also won the $1,000 Overall IFA Kayak Angler of the Year award in the head-to-head matchup among the Divisional Anglers of the Year at the championship event. Parrott was the Divisional Angler of the Year from the IFA's Louisiana division.
Second-place finisher Matthew Vann, of Pensacola, Florida, measured a combined two-day total of 123.25 inches to take home a total of $1,767 in winnings. The angler worked through his repertoire of baits and presentations, including suspending twitch baits, deep cranking, jigging and working top-water baits.
Eric Pendarvis, of Prairieville, Louisiana, finally topped the leaderboard in his three years of fishing the IFA Kayak Tour with a third-place finish.
"I feel like a little boy at Christmas," said Pendarvis. "I finally have the three-year IFA monkey off my back."
The angler fished the Barataria Pass and Bayou Lafourche area with Berkley Gulp! on bottom for his redfish and caught his trout on subsurface hardbaits.
"The conditions were great and everyone was killing the redfish," said Pendarvis. "I caught my big trout in a spot that has been good to me over 12 years, yet I haven't fished the spot since spring of 2013."
The angler's two-day total measurement was 122.18 inches and brought him a total of $1,287 in winnings.