ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS – Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorada’s premier fishing destination, will host its Third Annual Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Tournament on November 13-15, 2014. This prestigious event draws discerning anglers from all over the world, and will raise funds for the locally-based Guides Trust Foundation.
Anglers will compete for trophies and prizes for releasing five different species of fish: snook, redfish, bonefish, tarpon and permit. Tackle Divisions include Fly, Artificial and General, and both Individual and Team trophies will be awarded. Fishing headquarters is World Wide Sportsman, just a half mile from Cheeca.
Signature sponsors again this year include Wells Fargo, Boom Your Brand, Abel Reels and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, among others. Entry fee is $2,000 per angler and includes entry into all three social events for the angler, a guest and the angler’s guide and his guest. It also includes a continental breakfast dockside at World Wide Sportsman each morning and boxed lunches for anglers and guides.
The beneficiary this year is the Guides Trust Foundation, which assists Florida Keys fishing guides in need, helping them meet their financial obligations in times of crisis or injury. The GFT also awards scholarships to local students. For more information and donation forms, visit the website at www.guidestrustfoundation.org
The 2014 All American will feature a slightly different format this year. It will kick off on Thursday, November 13, with an elegant Welcome Reception and Cocktail party in the Sunrise Ballroom and Terrace starting at 5:30 p.m. A rules meeting will follow at 7 p.m. and all guides must attend.
Fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, November 14 and Saturday, November 15, 2014.
On Friday, November 14, 2014, tournament participants will attend an extravagant All American Barbecue on Cheeca’s beach. The tournament will culminate on Saturday, November 15, with an awards ceremony and early Awards Banquet beginning with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. “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,” said Tournament Director Julie Olsen.
Awards for Individual Grand Champion, Individual Runner-Up, Grand Champion Team, Runner-Up Grand Champion Team and Champions in the Fly, Artificial and General Tackle Divisions will be presented in the form of 16 exclusive, signature trophies that will put this tournament in a class by itself, Olsen noted.
Cheeca’s fishing tournament history is impressive. In addition to the George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament held from 1994-2003, Cheeca launched its Presidential Sailfish Tournament in 1989.