Miami resident Ross Reeder earned the grand champion title, among other honors, at the Redbone Celebrity Tournament on Nov. 2 - 4. Among the 39-boat field, 78 anglers released a total of 278 redfish and 13 bonefish.
Reeder, guided by Capt. Dave Denkert of Islamorada, caught and released 11 reds on bait, 23 reds on artificial lure and one bonefish on bait during the two-day contest. His teammate, Islamorada resident Brooke Denkert, added four redfish and one bonefish to the total for the team grand championship. Ms. Denkert won the female grand champ title as well.
“Anytime you’re paired up with the Denkerts it’s something special. Whether it be Brooke or Linda, both are amazing anglers,” said Reeder. “Competing in the Redbone has always been something I have wanted to since I was a kid. To win its 25th anniversy is fantastic.”
Because of this win, Reeder won the 2012 Redbone Trilogy award, amassing the most points of any angler who competed in this year's three Keys-based tournaments. The tourneys include the S.L.A.M., Baybone and Redbone. He beat out top contenders Frank Delucas of Plantation, Bonnie Christ of Alexandria, Va., and Wally Nowacki of Plainfield, Ill., among a number of others.
Dave Olson, of Miami, won Friday’s Superfly, a one-day, one-fly competition for redfish and bonefish. Olson was guided by Capt. Dave Denkert too.
Davey Johnson, manager of the MLB Washington Nationals, released three redfish on artificial and one bonefish on bait to be named celebrity grand champion. Johnson, a resident of Winter Park, FL, fished with Islamorada Captain Paul Tejera.
Remembering Ted Williams
Preceding the 25th anniversary event, Johnson and Nicole Ellis, daughter of Redbone founders Capt. Gary and Susan Ellis, placed a memorial wreath to baseball’s Ted Williams in the Florida Keys waters. Diagnosed with CF as an infant, Ms. Ellis is now 28 waiting for a cure.
The ceremonial wreath signified the 10th anniversary of the death of the Boston Red Sox slugger and fly fishing legend, who was instrumental in helping the Ellis’s initiate the event. It’s grown to nearly 30 tournaments internationally raising millions to get closer to a cure for CF.
“After 25 years the good Lord said maybe we need to give them a break with the weather,” laughed Ellis, who has seen his share of fall tournaments hit with hurricanes and other adverse weather. “We could not have had a greater gift to than the magnificent weather for the Redbone. Everybody caught fish. When we started it there was a moratorium on the catch of redfish; now there’s an abundance of redfish, but we still have issues with our bonefish.”