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Offshore Rodeo Fishing Tournament to benefit Ronald McDonald House

By Staff | Jun 8, 2017

Southwest Florida gamefish beware!

Hundreds of anglers competing in the 5th annual Offshore Rodeo Fishing Tournament will be hunting you down this weekend.

After captains meet for registration, a rules discussion and dinner at 7 p.m. Friday at Bootleggers Waterfront Grill, 2200 Main St., Fort Myers Beach, boats launch out of Salty Sam’s Marina at 6 a.m. Saturday. Boats must return to the marina to weigh their fish between 4 and 6 p.m.

Anglers are competing for cash prizes in two categories – under 500 hp (amateur division), and 500 hp and over (pro division).

There’s also a $100,000 prize for the “mystery fish,” however, that prize has not been claimed in the first four years.

Awards are handed out at the post-fishing dinner and Reggae Party at Bootleggers.

The event, one of Southwest Florida’s most anticipated fishing events, is conducted for the benefit of Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) of Southwest Florida.

According to RMHC marketing director Shannon Starr, the tournament has raised more than $250,000 to date and hopes to top $100,000 this year.

Anglers can target any or all of 10 species in this tournament – African pompano, cobia, dolphin, grouper (gag, goliath and warsaw excluded), hogfish, kingfish, snapper (American red snapper excluded), triple tail, tuna and wahoo.

Anglers can weigh the four biggest fish caught per boat, but no more than two of any one species. Since the fish caught are then filleted and cooked by chefs at Bootleggers for that night’s all-you-can-eat dinner, everyone benefits. The dinner cost for non-anglers is $25 per person.

To register at the captains’ meeting to compete is $250 per person with the size of the boat the only limit to the number of anglers.

Cash prizes in the pro division are $6,000 for first, $3,000 for second and $1,500 for third. Amateur division prizes are $4,000, $2,000 and $1,000.

The mystery fish species and its weight are secretly determined by an outside third party and delivered to the dock in an envelope opened at the weigh-in. Any angler catching that species and that exact weight, down to the ounce, wins the prize.

While the anglers are out fishing, the first 100 kids 12 and under can participate in a fishing tournament, too, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Registration is $25 per child and each receives a new rod and lunch with Ronald McDonald. Kids also can take advantage of a variety of learn-to-fish stations to improve their skills and knowledge of fishing.

Tournament proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida youth programs through Ronald McDonald Care Mobile Program, Scholars Program, grants to childrens’ programs and the Ronald McDonald Family Room that is set to open in May.

Since 1996, more than 3,000 families in Lee, Hendry, Charlotte, Collier and Glades counties, other states and countries have found a “home away from home” locally while their children undergo enhanced medical treatment at Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Registration is still open.

For more information call 239-437-0202.