Take Stock Backcountry Challenge Raises $20,000

After a weekend spent angling for trophy-size trout and redfish, upper Keys anglers came out on top at the 12th annual Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge that ended Sept. 30.

Jacqueline Luna of Key Largo, guided by Key Largo’s Captain Chris Hanson, won the adult overall grand champion title with a combined total of 52.75 inches for one redfish and one trout. Her 25.75-inch trout also won first place in that division. Hanson was named the event’s top guide.

Luna was among more than 50 anglers and hundreds of supporters, educators, mentors and Rotarians who helped raise nearly $22,000 in scholarship money, according to event organizers. Fundraising is the primary mission of the yearly angling challenge.

Mike Kneidinger of Orlando, Fla., placed first in the redfish division with a 30-inch fish. Kneidinger fished with Key Largo’s Captain Kerry Wingo.

Fishing with Captain Mike Makowski of Key Largo, Richard Campiola won the pro division for his 46-inch combined total of redfish and trout. Campiola, a resident of both Islamorada and Windham, N.H., took top honors in the 2012 Herman Lucerne Memorial Tournament that ended Sept. 23.

Captain Bruce Davis led Max Schrader-Grace of Key Largo to the junior division win with a 22-inch redfish. The junior division winner was determined by best fish, not by combined total of redfish and trout.

Presented by the Key Largo Rotary Club and the Key Largo Fishing Guide’s Association, the annual challenge supports local scholarships as well as Take Stock in Children, a statewide scholarship program that awards four-year Florida Prepaid scholarships to economically disadvantaged seventh-grade students who meet the program’s academic and behavioral criteria.