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Annual Blind Fishing Tournament Saturday

By Staff | Mar 16, 2016

More than two dozen blind anglers will take to the water this weekend for an annual fishing event.

The Florida Council of the Blind will host its Annual Blind Fishing Tournament on Saturday at the Cape Coral Yacht Club. The inshore slam partners a blind angler with a sighted captain and mate.

“It’s to get blind people out on the water fishing,” Mike Ulrich, the event organizer, said.

Last year, a total of 26 blind anglers took part on 23 volunteer boats.

“We have a confirmed 25 teams, with 25 anglers on 25 boats,” he said on Tuesday.

A majority of the anglers are coming from around the state.

On Saturday, the tourney will kick off at 7 a.m. at the Cape Coral Yacht Club pavilion with a free breakfast for all of the participants. Teams will be assembled, and the team bags handed out.

The Crazy Lure Bait & Tackle Shop is providing 50 live shrimp to each team for bait.

At 8 a.m., the teams will take to the water, with the final weigh-in at 2 p.m.

The target species are redfish, sea trout and snook.

“They have to be the biggest legal keepers,” Ulrich said. “They’ve got to bring them back live.”

Once weighed, the fish will be fileted for the anglers to take home.

“We have prizes for all team members of the first, second and third place teams,” he said.

On the first place team, the blind angler will receive a $500 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, a rod and reel combo valued at $225 and a deep sea fishing trip for two. The volunteer boat captain will take home a $500 fuel card and one-year membership with TowBoatUS, with the sighted mate getting $100 cash.

The blind angler on the second place team will receive a rod and reel combo valued at $225. The volunteer captain will win a one-year membership with TowBoatUS and a pair of tickets to the Laugh In Comedy Cafe in Fort Myers, while the sighted mate will also take home a rod and reel combo.

For third place, the angler will win a spinning rod and reel combo, the captain will earn a one-year membership with TowBoatUS and the mate will receive a $20 gift card to Outback Steakhouse.

Every captain will also be given a $25 gift card for volunteering their time and boat.

The tournament will wrap up back at the pavilion with a free cookout for the participants.

“We’re going to be selling food and drinks to the public also,” Ulrich said.

For $6 per plate, there will be barbecue chicken, baked beans, cole slaw and rolls available from Rib City. Water and soda will be available for $1, with all the proceeds going to the 2017 tournament.

“All the money generated goes for next year’s event,” he said.

The Fort Myers Derby Girls and the Cape Coral Hooters girls will be on hand.

“I’ve got a boatload of door prizes I’m giving out, too” Ulrich said.

There will be a blind cash draw, along with raffles with different prize levels and ticket costs.

“All of these raffle items have been donated by area businesses,” he said.

The items include a deep sea fishing trip for two, a handmade rod and reel combination, Sea Tow membership and more. The top prize is a three-day, two night stay at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina, which includes two bottles of champagne and two tickets to the Laugh In Comedy Cafe.

The official 2016 event T-shirts will also be on sale for $10 each.

The Cape Coral Yacht Club is at 5819 Driftwood Parkway.