November 13th-15th marks the 3rd Annual Cheeca Lodge Backcountry Fishing Tournament at mile marker 82 on Islamorada’s Oceanside. This prestigious fishing event lures anglers from around the world to compete for individual and team prizes for the release of snook, redfish, bonefish, tarpon, and permit with tackle divisions that include fly, artificial and general. The fishing headquarters is World Wide Sportsman, just half a mile from Cheeca Lodge & Spa.
This tournament’s new format hosts a Welcome Reception and Cocktail Party November 13th in the Sunrise Ballroom and Terrace at 5:30PM with the rules meeting at 7:00PM mandatory for all guides. The tournament begins the 14th with an extravagant All-American BBQ on Cheeca’s beach, and an awards ceremony and banquet on the 15th to conclude the event. “This new format allows our guides to get home early on Saturday evening, and allows our anglers to have a full day Sunday to relax or travel home,” says Tournament Director Julie Olsen.
The entry fee of $2,000 per angler includes entry into each of the three social events for the individual, a guest, and the angler’s guide and guest, plus breakfast and lunch each day. The event’s goal is to raise funds for the locally based Guides Trust Foundation, which assists Florida Keys fishing guides and awards scholarships to local students. For information or donation forms, visit guidestrustfoundation.org. Contact Julie Olsen for questions or entry forms. (305) 517-4449; firstname.lastname@example.org; cheeca.com/all-american
By Christine Carpenter, Southern Boating October 2014