Geoff Page and Rick Murphy gambled on making the 108-mile run run to Venice each day of the IFA Redfish Tour Championship, and their decision won them the title.

Page, of Sarasota, and Murphy, of Homestead, weighed a two-day limit totaling 35.29 pounds to win the championship over Florida anglers Kris Howell and Brett Norris, who weighed-in 35.12 pounds.

“The big reason we ran that far is that Venice sticks out so far into the Gulf of Mexico that the pogey population is high,” Murphy said. 

Once there, the anglers found a bay loaded with baitfish, including pogey, white shrimp, brown shrimp, blue crabs and finger mullet. 

“There were five different species of redfish baits literally on one shoreline,” he said. “We knew there was so much protein there, that if we could catch a fish that was close to 27 inches, he was going to be really big.”

The tactic paid off as the anglers boated two of the three heaviest fish of the tournament. 

“We caught the second- and third-largest fish of the tournament; a 9.77- and 9.67-pound redfish,” Murphy said. “That was part of the strategy because pogies make the fish so fat.”

The anglers fished spinner baits and chartreuse-colored paddle tails in pogey patches. After Day 1, the anglers sat in eleventh place with 16.85 pounds. 

But a return trip to Venice the next day paid off with an 18.44-pound limit and the championship title. 

The anglers won a Ranger 220 Bahia w/a Yamaha 150HP Package, valued at $41,000 and added $3,990 in Anglers Advantage cash.

“It’s a nice payday for a two-day tournament,” said Murphy. “There are a lot of things that have to happen just right to win in a tournament like this. We did the best we could do and it just happened to fall together and become our turn.”

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