This year's Mercury Redbone @ Large Everglades Celebrity Slam was a big success. The Redbone series of tournaments is a two day charity event benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It is a guided, catch, photograph and release "Slam" tournament with the Slam consisting of at least one Tarpon, one Redfish and one Snook. A Slam is required in order to win. Each fish is given points with greatest point weight favoring fly-rod releases. All proceeds go to charity so the pressure of the "money" tournaments is non-existent. For those of you who have not fishd a Redbone, you are really missing something special. Between the food, the entertainment, the friends, the celebrities and the fishing, you will have an absolute blast
This year, I had the pleasure to fish with anglers and friends, Diane and Tad Templeton of Miami, Florida. The first day of fishing was tough for all the teams. It rained the entire day. Though generally we were able to stay in light drizzle by avoiding the bad T-storms, the weather certainly dictated the day. We planned to start off the morning tarpon fishing. Diane kicked things off with a Goliath Grouper ... not the targeted species, but a nice fish none the less. Tad got us on the board with a Tarpon release followed a few minutes later with another Tarpon release by Diane. Chokoloskee Charters staff guide, Bruce Hitchcock, was fishing the same area with his angler Brauer Moffitt (and his son) who released a Tarpon on fly to get on the board.
By the end of the first day, both Chokoloskee Charters teams were in good position. The Templeton team was in third place with 900 points, but still needed a Redfish to complete their slam. The Moffitt team had but 500 points, but they had completed their slam putting them in position for a win. The plan for the second day was simple. The Templetons needed one Redfish and more points. The Moffitt team needed points.
The second day was beautiful, so we blasted south to fish the remote river mouths. Tad and Diane are excellent anglers and accurate casters. Both were fishing with Shimano Stratic 4000's with 12lb line (tournament rules) and using a 3/8 oz. Rip Tide Jig Head with a 12 Fathom gold swimming shad tails. It paid off. They photographed and released 1600 points worth of Snook. Several other heart-breakers were quot;long" released without being photographed or they would have had even more points. BUT ... we did not catch a Redfish!! That meant we missed the slam and would not be in the running for Grand Champion!!! They did finish with the second highest point total of the tournament. An accomplishment to be very proud of. Just wait until next year ... we'll have Redfish by the buckets full!!!! ... I hope.
The Moffitt team added enough points to capture Runner-up Team Grand Champions. Congratulations to Bruce and his team. In last year's tournament, the Chokoloskee Charters guides faired well also, with my team taking the award for most Tarpon releases and Bruce guiding Jeff Cross of the Miami Dolphins to Celebrity Grand Champion.
If you would like to book a trip with Chokoloskee Charters, please call The Captain @ (239) 695-9107 or www.ChokoloskeeCharters.com
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