Fishin’ With A Mission set for South Seas
An on-island fishing tournament to benefit youth in the area is registering teams of anglers.
Hosted by the Saint Michael Lutheran School in Fort Myers, the 6th Annual Fishin’ With A Mission will take place on May 11 at the South Seas Island Resort. Along with the main tourney, the event will feature a competition for youths up to eighth grade that will test their fishing ability and other skills.
“The church actually did this tournament about 10 or 15 years ago,” event coordinator Ashley Underhill said, adding that the competition fell by the wayside when the Recession struck.
Then a couple years ago, some of the students’ parents resurrected it as a fundraiser.
Underhill took over coordinating the tournament three years ago.
“I’ve been trying to make it better every year,” she said.
Last year, 31 boats competed in the tourney, with 108 children fishing from the dock.
The proceeds raised in 2018 covered security updates for the school, including a school resource officer. With ongoing tragedies at schools, this year’s proceeds will again go toward security.
“It’s going back to securing our SRO again,” Underhill said.
“A big concern with our parents is keeping the kids safe. As we’re not a public school, we have to raise the funds ourselves,” she added, noting that the proceeds are a starting point before asking families.
The entry fee for the tournament is $450 for a team of three, with $100 for each extra angler. To participate in the children’s event, the fee is $50 per child. Both the adults and youths receive lunch.
On May 9, a captain’s meeting for only the captains and anglers will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Rusty’s Raw Bar & Grill, at 4631 S.E. 10th Place, Cape Coral. At least one team member is required to attend. On May 10 starting at 5 p.m., a special happy hour event will take place at South Seas for everyone.
“It’s a time for the families to come together and hang out,” Underhill said.
Organizers will sell cups at the event, sponsored by B&I Contractors, as a mini-fundraiser.
The next morning, the activities will kick off.
For the main tourney, lines are in the water starting at 7 p.m.
“They will fish for two redfish, two snook and two trout,” she said.
Due to last summer’s red tide and reduced fish populations, organizers have changed the tournament rules from the total weight of the six fish to a photo competition, so combined length of the fish.
“I need all of the pictures in by 4 o’clock,” Underhill said of the “weigh in” time.
First place wins a $3,000 cash prize, second place gets $1,500 and third place earns $500. In addition, the anglers who hook the longest of the species – redfish, snook and trout – each receive $500.
For the youth tourney, the participants will fish off of the T-docks by the big pools. She explained that previously the children would fish off the yacht club docks, but 2018 impacted the fish population.
“We’re going to do the first fish caught, we’re going to do the most fish caught and then we’re going to do the biggest fish caught,” Underhill said.
Because of the concern that the participants may have troubling hooking a fish and get bored because of it, organizers have added the skills contest to this year’s event to help keep the youths interested.
“We’re going to do the longest cast and the most accurate cast, and then we’re going to do a cast net event,” she said, explaining that there will be a kiddie pool set up and filled with various items.
“It’ll be fun,” Underhill added.
The participants will be divided into two age groups – eighth to fourth grade, and third grade and lower – with prizes for the winners in all of the contests in both divisions, so 12 awards overall.
“Last year, we gave away rod-and-reel combos,” she said.
Each child will receive an event T-shirt, a bucket of goodies and other items.
“Each kid walks away with something for their participation in the event,” Underhill said.
There will be event T-shirts, angler bags and such for competitors in the main tournament.
The event will wrap up with an awards ceremony and dinner at 5:30 p.m
“It’s a barbecue-style dinner out on the lawn,” she said.
Tickets are available for $50 for those who did not participant in the main or youth events.
There will be a silent auction, plus raffle tickets sold for a range of items.
“We have artwork, we have trips, we have different boating items like rods and reels,” Underhill said. “We have a big variety of things that people have donated to us.”
The public is encouraged to sign up for the fundraiser.
“It’s a blast. We have a great weekend,” she said. “We’re local families, a lot of us are born and raised here. Come out and have a blast, and meet some new people – it’s just a good time to have fun.”
For more information or to register, visit www.smlcs.org/fishin-with-a-mission-2019.
People can also contact Ashley Underhill at email@example.com or 239-243-1533.
Sponsorships and donations are still being accepted; contact Underhill for the details.
South Seas Island Resort is at 5400 Plantation Road, Captiva.
Saint Michael Lutheran School is at 3595 Broadway.