Fishing is challenging enough without worrying about lures. Make it last, they say. That strategy is mandatory at the 15th annual Backbone Lures Fish 'Til You Lose It Backcountry Fishing Tournament set for Saturday, March 7, in Islamorada.
Registered anglers are to choose their preferred Backbone Skimmer Series jig, then fish the jig on their preferred tackle -- either spin or baitcast -- for as long as the lure lasts or stays tied on. If the lure is lost or becomes unusable, the angler's fishing day ends.
New this year is the addition of an equally challenging one-fly tournament so fly fishermen can participate as well. Rules for this facet of the tournament will be posted at www.backbonelures.com.
A kick-off party and captains meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Friday, March 6, at the Oceanview Sports Pub, mile marker (MM) 84.5, with fishing departing from the Lorelei Restaurant and Marina, MM 82 bayside.
Lines-in is scheduled for 7 a.m. with lines-out at 4 p.m. An awards party is slated to follow Saturday's fishing.
Anglers can target bonefish, permit and tarpon to earn 400 points per release. Snook and redfish releases are worth 200 points per fish. Trout, jacks, sharks, ladyfish and barracuda get 20 points per fish, with a limit of 200 points in the 20-point category.
All bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook and redfish must measure at least 18 inches long and must be released alive to count for points.
Tipping with natural bait is not allowed, but rubber grubs and other artificial tips can be used. Maximum line strength is manufacturer's stated 12-pound test.
Entry fee is $85 per person, and proceeds from the tournament benefit the Florida Keys Children's Shelter.
To find out about area accommodations, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at (305) 664-4503 or (800) 322-5397, or visit the Florida Keys & Key West Web site at www.fla-keys.com.