Faced with clear water fishing conditions unlike those in their native South Carolina, the two Belton, SC, natives called on their bass fishing backgrounds and targeted deeper water during the two day championship event. After weighing in one of the tournament's largest fish on day one, a 7.43 pounder, the team edged out the second place team of Jay Cedotal and Chad Dufrene, who finished with 26.92 pounds.
Cedotal and Dufrene, who had the highest finish of the six regular season division winners, captured the Team of the Year Award.
"This is our first time fishing Panama City Beach. We came in the Sunday before the tournament started to pre‐fish and we caught only a handful," Finley said. "We have a bass fishing background and really had to go back to that to help us find the fish. We had to fish deeper water. We fish a lot in the Charleston (SC) area and there is no clear water there like there is here."
With the win, the Finley and Wood team were awarded a new Ranger 173 Ghost powered by a 115 horsepower, four stroke Yamaha outboard, equipped with a Power Pole shallow water
anchor, Minn Kota trolling motor and Humminbird electronics. The value of the prize boat is $34,000.
Rounding out the Top 3 finishing teams, the team of Pete Dixon and Ron Hobbs finished with 26.90 pounds over two days, putting them .02 pounds behind second place finishers Cedotal and Dufrene. Dixon and Hobbs, natives of Jacksonville, Fla., stayed close during the tournament, but
were unable to break the seven pound barrier during the two day event.
"We practiced for two days, ran two miles and only burned five gallons of gas for the tournament," Dixon said. "We used mostly spoons and Gulp! baits to catch our fish. We lost count of the fish we caught today but we only caught three on Friday."
More than 250 anglers from six different divisions and from across the Gulf and Atlantic coasts competed for the 2008 IFA Redfish Tour Championship, which ran November 7‐8, 2008. The two angler teams qualified for the no entry‐fee IFA Redfish Tour Championship by fishing a minimum of three IFA Redfish Tour events during 2008.
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans safely tagged and released 281 redfish of the 283 caught during the event. The results of the tagging will aid in conservation efforts for redfish in the future, helping to ensure healthy redfish populations and a successful recreational fishing
industry in the Panama City Beach area.
Cabela's Overall Divisional Team of the Year
In addition to the winner-take-all championship event, an event within the event – the Cabela's Overall Divisional Team of the Year race – pitted the six division winners against each other for an additional $5,000 in prize money and the coveted Cabela's Team of the Year Award. The
award, presented this year to the team of Jay Cedotal and Chad Dufrene, went to the highest finishing, division winning team.
After winning the Louisiana Division in the regular season, Jay Cedotal – from Geismar, La., and Chad Dufrene, from Purvis, Miss., made long runs to capitalize on fish they located during their week of pre-tournament scouting.
"This is the greatest win of my career," Dufrene said. "We ran four hours and fished for three. Being from Louisiana, it was tough fishing clear water. We are used to seeing fish and knowing they will bite, but we just had to fish to our strengths."
For more information about the IFA Redfish Tour tournaments, visit www.redfishtour.com or call (478) 836‐4266.