Published August 28, 2004
Key Largo, Aug 28, 2004 – Calm weather and fantastic fishing enabled the Inshore Fishing Association (IFA) Professional Redfish Tournament to set records for heavy fish at this year’s Key Largo Event.
Held at Gilbert’s Marina in Key Largo, this event brought the best Redfish anglers in the country together for a hard fought competition. In the end, well known local experts Capt. Tom Rowland of Key West and Capt. Rich Tudor of Islamorada topped the field of 66 boats with a 4 fish aggregate weight of 29.62 pounds, a new Key Largo record.
“There has been so much hard work that has led to this moment” said Capt. Tom Rowland after accepting the teams award of a 191 Ranger Flats Boat with a 200 Yamaha engine, Power pole and Lowrance electronics valued at $38,000. “Our families and sponsors have been incredibly supportive through our tournaments. We are very lucky to have them.”
Individually, Rowland and Tudor have seen their share of tournament victories including multiple titles of Top Guide at the Rolex IGFA Inshore World Championships for Tudor and the ESPN Great Outdoor Games for Rowland. Paired together for 2 years, Rowland and Tudor have won the Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Challenge as well as placing in the top 5 of other professional Redfish tournaments but until this weekend had never won a professional Redfish event. From their impressive list of tournament finishes Rowland and Tudor have accumulated an impressive list of sponsors including Skeeter Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Quantum, Oakley, Strike King Lures, Stowmaster Landing Nets, Stren fishing line, Navionics electronic charts, Matzuo hooks, Frigid Rigid Coolers, Buff Headwear and Bass Pro Shops.
“This win is the best one of our careers,” Rich Tudor added “it is rare that locals win these professional tournaments and being able to win in our own backyard makes this one very special.”
Maybe it is rare for locals to win in other locations, but in the 2004 IFA Key Largo event the final statistics proved that the locals had the advantage this year. Capt. Rick Murphy of Homestead paired with Scott Guthrie of Jacksonville placed second with 29.58 pounds, Capt. Michael Haines and Capt. Mike Hutchisson, defending champions compiled 29.30 pounds while Dustin Huff fishing with brother Chad rounded out the top 4 with 27.80 pounds.
The sport of professional redfishing has its roots in this tournament series which has led to other organizations such as ESPN and FLW to organize and hold their own tournaments. Between the ESPN, FLW and IFA pro anglers from around the country travel from South Texas to Key Largo and back to South Carolina in search of the most prestigious and profitable tournament wins in Inshore Saltwater fishing.
More information can be found on the angler’s websites, www.bigblueflyfishing.com for Rowland, www.sweet-release.com for Tudor or visit the IFA’s website to see more photos of the event and read the official results and recap at www.redfishtour.com.