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5th Annual Grouper Slam to help fund new LARC program

By Staff | Jul 9, 2019

Registrations are still being accepted for a weekend fishing tournament to benefit a good cause.

The 5th Annual Group Slam will take place on July 13 at the Royal Shell Port Sanibel Marina in Fort Myers, with a captain’s meeting set for July 12 at the marina’s Lighthouse Restaurant. With a 100 percent payout to the winners in the tourney, proceeds from an auction and drawing will go to LARC.

The mission of LARC, or the Lee Association for Remarkable Citizens, is to empower and support individuals with disabilities and their families. The non-profit provides programs and services for about 300 locals through vocational training, community residential services, inclusion services and more.

“Right now we are developing a brand new program called LAB, Learn Achieve Become,” LARC Development Director Angela Katz said, noting that the tournament serves as important role.

“The proceeds are helping to fund this program,” she said.

Katz explained that LAB will offer an experiential learning environment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It transforms traditional program areas into spaces for innovation, vocation, demonstration and learning. It does so through a set of “labs” – the Lab for Living, Wellness Lab, Smart Living Lab, Collaboration Lab and Vocational Exploration Lab.

“Five labs will focus on skills that maximize independence and employment success,” she said.

“The tournament is huge, this fund raising is huge,” Katz added.

On July 12, the event kicks off at the Lighthouse with open registration at 6 p.m. and the captain’s meeting at 7 p.m. The entry fee is $500 per boat for up to four anglers; each additional person is $100.

Teams can also register in advance at www.fishgrouperslam.com.

At least one member from each team is required to attend the meeting.

“It goes over the rules, the categories in the tournament, and the fun contests,” she said.

The following day, the tourney will begin with an honor start at 6 a.m.

The weigh-in will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at the marina.

Boats can weigh four grouper – gag, red and scamp – but a minimum of three in the four-fish combination must be red. The winners will be based on total weight in a 50-30-20 split.

“It’s all determined by the number of boats entered,” Katz said of the cash prizes.

In addition, there is a $2,000 prize for the biggest grouper, plus fun fish category payouts. For the fun categories, it is $50 for each mangrove and lane snapper, porgy, blackfin tuna and African pompano.

And the fun is not just limited to the teams and anglers.

“It’s really fun to come and watch as a spectator,” she said of the weigh-in.

There will be music, with food and drinks available for purchase.

Attendees also have the opportunity to take part in the silent auction and chance drawing.

“We’ll have approximately 40 packages,” Katz said of the auction.

The list of items includes a week at a mountain home in North Carolina, stays on Sanibel, restaurant gift certificates, spa packages, fishing charters, Red Sox training tickets, Disney passes and more.

“Things for grownups, to kids,” she said.

For the drawing, there are three packages up for grabs.

“That’s a different way people can join in the fun,” Katz said.

There is a YETI Tundra 65 cooler filled with adult beverages and custom-branded by Captains for Clean Water, a 3.5-cubic-foot Galanz retro red mini-refrigerator and a third mystery item.

“They’ll be able to see everything online by visiting the website,” she said.

This year, people can purchase the drawing tickets and bid on the auction items online.

“We are offering mobile, so people will be able to go to the LARC website. They can do that electronically,” Katz said, noting that people can support the cause without leaving home.

Online ticket sales and auction bidding is currently open; both will close on July 13 at 7 p.m.

The goal for this year’s tournament activities is to raise $15,000.

“We raised $9,000,” she said of the 2018 event.

The public is encouraged to take part.

“I see it as do something you love, while helping a great cause,” Katz said. “Sometimes we don’t know how we can help our community, how we can get involved – this is a great way to show support.”

For more information on the tourney or to register, visit www.fishgrouperslam.com.

To check out the auction and drawing, visit www.larcleecounty.org and click on the “Events” tab.

To donate items or to become a sponsor, contact Angela Katz at 239-334-6285 ext. 229 or angelakatz@larcleecounty.org. For more about LARC, visit www.larcleecounty.org.

The Royal Shell Port Sanibel Marina is at 14341 Port Comfort Road, Fort Myers.