The Redbone tourney celebrates its 24th year of helping cystic fibrosis research.
Catch a few redfish and bonefish, hang out at a party with fishing and sporting celebrities, and raise money for a worthy cause—there’s not much better than the annual Redbone Tournament in Islamorada.
The 24th Redbone Celebrity Fishing Tournament, held at the Islander Resort (Mile Marker 82.1), takes place the first weekend of November. If you don’t have a calendar nearby, that’s Nov. 4 – 6. At the Redbone, anglers score multiple points by catching redfish and bonefish (redbones) which are all measured, photographed and quickly released alive at the boat. Awards go to the top anglers and teams in general, spin and fly divisions and the largest and most fish caught and released in each target species.
This is the final tournament in the Keys trilogy for 2011. The SLAM in Key West targeting tarpon, permit and bonefish was held September 9-11, and the Baybone at Key Largo for bonefish and permit was held from October 7-9. Be sure not to miss out on these events next year.
There are still openings for anglers at the two-day Redbone and one-day Superfly events. “Participant and team entries with great captains to guide them are still available,” said Capt. Gary Ellis. “A two-angler team entry is $3,500 which includes the guide fees for two days of fishing, all social functions such as the kick-off party with live and silent auctions, continental breakfasts, box lunches, dockside parties with hors d’oeuvres, Sunday awards dinner and a tournament bag.” For anglers who would like to fish with a celebrity, the individual entry fee is $3,000.
The two-day event is preceded on Friday by the Superfly, a unique one-day, one-fly tournament sponsored by The Fly Shop of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. The Superfly registration and dinner are at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at The Islander Resort. Fishing is Friday, Nov. 4, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Its awards ceremony is held during the Redbone kick-off dinner.
Come tournament day, plenty of inshore species await anglers in the Florida Keys. But this tournament is much more than catching a few fish and calling it a day. The Redbone tournament was founded in 1988 by the Gary Ellis family as a grassroots effort to help victims, like their daughter Nicole, who have CF (cystic fibrosis). With help from baseball legend Ted Williams, it raised $16,000 that first year and has since spawned nearly 30 fishing events across the U.S. and internationally raising over $15 million for scientists and researchers at the CF Foundation.
The events gained fame as hundreds of top celebrities have competed including General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hall of Famers John Havlicek (NBA), Wade Boggs (MLB), Ted Hendricks (NFL), super model Lauren Hutton, pro baseball’s Tim Wakefield and Davey Johnson the late saxophonist Clarence Clemons and the late sportscaster Curt Gowdy.
“While these celebs have all helped bring awareness to CF over these two dozen years, medical scientists have made amazing advancements especially with gene research,” said Ellis. “Not only did doctors isolate the CF gene, it in turn paved the way for the discovery of the genes for sickle cell anemia, Huntington’s disease and many others. It’s remarkable how far they’ve come, but there’s still no cure and our tournaments continue in full force.”