HUMMINBIRD: Murphy Sees Red Again - Humminbird® Pros Win Inshore Redfish Tour (IFA) 2014 Championship Captains Rick Murphy and Geoff Page commit to insanely long runs, take top honors
HOUMA, LA. (November 7, 2014) – Captains Rick Murphy and Geoff Page are no strangers to top IFA Redfish rankings. In 2004 and 2010 the duo won IFA Team of the Year. In 2011 and 2013, they won qualifying IFA events, but until now, never an IFA Championship.
“We would have been proud as pumpkins with 5th or 6th place,” says Sarasota, Florida-based Captain Geoff Page. “After the first day we were in 11th place and we didn’t think we could win it. Our goal was just to get a Top 10. The win never crossed our mind. And then it just fell in our laps.”
Still, the win is the result of an ambitious plan—one that required a 108-mile run each way from Houma, Louisiana, to Venice. The trip was 200 miles plus round trip!
Murphy started scouting the Houma area a week prior to the tournament while Page fished around Venice, marking waypoints on his Humminbird 798ci HD SI.
“Here I am scouting in Venice and Rick is eliminating any potential waters near Houma. And not once did I have to consider how to get to Venice – that was all Rick’s inherent skill, Humminbird GPS and Yamaha Fuel Management Gauge,” says Page.
Wasn’t long into practice that the two realized Venice would be the place to be come tournament time. Because Venice extends so far into the Gulf, it serves as a natural stopping point for baitfish moving from west to east or east to west in fall and winter.
“We knew that 26- to 27-inch reds near Venice would weigh more than anywhere else. Pogies are plentiful there and they pack a ton of protein. All we had to do was figure out how to get there,” says Homestead, Florida’s Captain Rick Murphy.
Skeptical that the run could even be made without diverting far into the Gulf, the duo sought the advice of locals familiar with labyrinthine canals, marshes and bays.
Page laughs: “Homeboys told us, ‘A little crazy, but you can do it!’”
“I marked all the waypoints on my 798ci HD SI unit. When we decided to use Murphy’s Pathfinder to make the 200+ round trip journey, I simply saved all my waypoints onto an SD card and plugged them straight into Murphy’s 1199. It worked flawlessly and took just a few seconds! I’ve always said fishing a Humminbird is easy, but that wins the prize – literally!”
So, using the GPS on his Humminbird 1199ci HD SI Combo, Murphy was able to map a quick route to their preferred redfish waters.
“I ran the Intracoastal Waterway and Houma Canal down past Cocodrie Bayou and headed east through marshes, using the Humminbird GPS to navigate old oil landcuts, coming out about 16 miles northwest of Grand Isle. From there I continued using the GPS, following the barrier islands in the Gulf to Venice.”
Murphy says the key was dropping waypoints during the entire route to aid in navigation.
“All I had to do was go from one waypoint, push exit, and go to the cursor for the next waypoint. That kept me on the right path, rather than hitting ‘Go To,’ which might divert me around an island. I ran the 1199 in split-screen with mapping and satellite overlay: 1-mile scale on the left and ¼- or ½-mile scale on the right side. I set the cursor 16 miles away; made it real simple.”
Following Murphy’s mapping run the Tuesday prior to the tournament, the team felt confident in their plan.
“We transferred all my waypoints from Venice to Rick’s 1199 and we were ready to go,” says Page.
Pushing Pogies, Boxing Reds
“On Day One we did the route in I hour 45 minutes, fished for 3.5 hours and then ran back to Grand Isle, got fuel, and ran home for weigh-in,” says Murphy.
What they found were “millions and millions” of pogies and some fat reds, including the second and third biggest fish of the tournament, including a 9.67-pound fish on Day One that measured a mere 1/32-inch from the 27-inch cut off.
The duo’s program involved Murphy using a Yeti cooler as a platform on the bow of his Pathfinder 2300 HPS for added elevation to spot active reds.
“I’d stand at the cockpit and help Rick spot fish, which he’d get first crack at. Thing is, he’s probably one of the best sight fishermen in the world. If he saw a fish he’d press stop on his iPilot remote and take the shot. If there was another fish in the boil, I’d cast,” says Page.
“I ran the Minn Kota iPilot remote in my left hand and a baitcaster in my right. It was all about spinnerbaits. Vibration was key – big blade and the thump of a Bass Assassin paddletail on the back,” says Murphy.
Moving the boat slowly ahead with the Minn Kota iPilot remote, Murphy would literally part massive schools of pogies with the boat, pushing them toward shore.
“The redfish went nuts as soon as the pogies hit the grass. You’d have about three to five seconds to throw to a redfish boil and intercept them. It was pretty intense sight fishing,” says Murphy.
“It was a cool deal. We worked island after island without ever cranking up the big Yamaha. Just point the iPilot toward the next island, hit the due north button and get ready for the next throw down. You might see three fish, you might see 13 ... and they’re Louisiana fish, which don’t spook like Florida reds. You’d throw a spinnerbait at ‘em and they’d run it down and eat it,” says Page.
After Day One the team was in 11th place with 16.85 pounds. On Day two they started in the first
flight of boats and shaved 15 minutes off their morning run, reaching Venice in 90 minutes.
“On Day Two we had a 9.77 and a high 8 for a two-day total of 35.29,” says Murphy. “It was a really great surprise. Definitely made the running worth it!”
Page says the Championship win demonstrates just how important the right equipment can be.
“Sure, we found the right fish, but we never would have been able to reach them without stuff that works. Humminbird and Minn Kota were a big part of it, as well as the reliability and speed of our Pathfinder boat and Yamaha motor. Keep in mind it was pretty dark when they cut us loose in the morning. But we had good waypoints so we could get there safe and sound, even at some pretty high speeds.”
Although humble, Page says the bragging rights will be used.
“We’re in our early 50s now. Sure, we can go hard all day long on the water, but do you think we could stay awake through the ninth inning of the World Series games? We’re like the old men of IFA Redfish, but this win proves we can still hang with the young bucks!”
Murphy and Page also earned $44,990 in cash and prizes.
PHOTO : Humminbird