RUSKIN, Fla. – The Inshore Fishing Association’s (IFA’s) Pro Tour Championship was originally going to be held in Venice, La., on November 4-5, 2005, and then came Hurricane Katrina. Tentative plans were made to reschedule the event for the same weekend in Lake Charles, La., and then came Hurricane Rita. On very short notice, tour officials have been able to put together yet another plan and are taking the IFA Pro Tour Championship to The Inn at Little Harbor in Ruskin, Fl. near Tampa Bay. The event is still scheduled for November 4-5.
Jim Armstrong, CEO of the IFA, stated, “We are very saddened by the devastation that has taken place in the gulf coast region due to Katrina and Rita, and our hearts also go out to those who have been affected by these storms. We have always enjoyed taking events to the region in the past because of the world class fishery and world class hospitality. Unfortunately, we feel our presence at this time would only hinder recovery efforts. We are, however, looking forward to bringing events back to the region in 2006.”
Working with personnel at the Tampa Bay Sports Commission and The Inn at Little Harbor, Armstrong went on to say, “The quick rescheduling and planning for this event speaks volumes to the strength of the Tampa Bay area community and their ability to make something special happen at a moment’s notice. We look forward to working with them to host the upcoming Championship.”
Tampa Bay Sports Commission Executive Director Rob Higgins responded, “Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those that have been affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, and we feel fortunate to be able to step in and support this year’s IFA Redfish Tour Championship.”
For more information on the Tampa Bay Sports Commission or the host hotel, please visit their Web sites at www.tampabaysports.org and www.staylittleharbor.com.
IFA sponsors include Ranger Boats, Yamaha Outboards, Cabela’s, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Careco Multimedia, Image Graphics, Loadmaster Trailers, Power Pole, Salt Water Assassin, Rip Tide Lures, Thermacell, and Old Bay Side.
Touted as the premier U.S. Redfish tournament organization, the IFA conducts over forty fishing events in seven states. The tournament structure is a series of two-day, catch and release, close-to-home, inshore saltwater events for two-angler teams using artificial lures. There are three different series: the Pro Tour, which is the highest competitive level; the Lure Tour, which is competitive and a possible launch pad into the pros for aspiring anglers; and the Open Series for those who just enjoy the fun, sport, and camaraderie of fishing.
In accordance to IFA’s mission, the goals of competition, recognition, and education are the center of their focus. IFA is dedicated to providing an avenue for the talented anglers of the Redfish Tour to excel in the world of competitive professional fishing.
To learn more, please contact Bart Schad, Palmer Conrad Consulting, at 870-431-8495 or [email protected]