Inaugural fishing tourney pits area high schools against each other
Fishing tournaments always create friendly competition among the fishermen who partake in them, with bragging rights and cash prizes being the carrots which are sought after.
With the First Annual High School Redfish Throwdown – hosted by The Fellowship of Christian Athletes – bragging rights have hit another level, with alumni from Lee County schools having the chance to one up their past rivals – this time in a boat.
“This is the only tournament of its kind,” said lead tourney organizer Micky Franklin. “It’s literally high school versus high school, fishing against each other.”
The High School Redfish Throwdown will be Aug. 7-8, with the Captains’ Meeting being held Friday, Aug. 7, at the First Assembly of God School Gymnasium (located at 4701 Summerlin Road, Fort Myers) starting at 7 p.m.
The fishing action starts promptly Saturday, Aug. 8, on the beaches of Sanibel’s Causeway Island B span, with the honor start beginning at 7 a.m. Weighing stations open at noon and will close at 3 p.m., while the awards banquet being at 6:30 p.m. at First Assembly of God.
The unique fishing tournament will pit high schools against each other, with alumni once again being able to wear their team colors. When an angler signs up, they will choose their school they want to represent.
Each team, which is compromised of a boat (four to one boat maximum), will be fishing for a certain high school.
Bragging rights and trophies will be won by combining the top three boats/teams weights for each school. The school with the most combined weight wins. Trophies will be handed out to the top three schools.
Each team will weigh in and their top two redfish will be used and winners will be determined by combined weight of both fish of the entire team.
The first team to weigh in will be considered the winner in the event of a tie on weight.
“So the more fishermen a school has, the better the odds,” Franklin said. “These guys have talked smack about each other for 40 years and now, the winners can talk smack for an entire year that they were better in football, baseball, basketballand now fishing.”
Cash prizes will award the top three finishers, with first winning $1,000, second $500 and third $300. Places seventh through 12th will be awarded $100 each.
Redfish are the typical target fish during tournaments and they have a catch slot between 18-27 inches.
“Redfish are challenging to catch and they are abundant,” Franklin said. “They are a fun fish to catch. A nine-pound Redfish would be a dream catch, anything over nine pounds is consider a slob, it’s a home run.”
The format will be catch and release, with the redfish being weighed must be alive and be able to swim away on their own power. A tail pinch tool will be used, with redfish not being able to exceed 27-inches.
Oversize fish will be disqualified.
“The (fishermen) will also be able to wear their school’s colors if they registered early,” Franklin said. “They will be getting long-sleeve shirts, which are used for protection against the sun, with sponsors down on one sleeve and the other their school of choice.”
Teams can register Friday, Aug. 7, during the Captain’s Meeting, as well. Cost is $300 per team. Sponsors are also being sought, with four different levels, including Platinum ($3,000), Gold ($1,500), Silver ($1,000) and Bronze ($500).
The host FCA group is a non profit 501 C3 organization and are represented in the majority of schools across the nation.
“We are hoping for at least a 100 boats, which a typical tournament draws 40-50 boats,” Franklin said. “The goal of ours, once we can get this tournament up and going, is to have all coaches from all the sports have a boat and take kids who don’t have a chance to get on a boat.
“We want to get more kids involved in fishing.”
To register, go to www.swfloridafca.org.