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September 10, 2012

The First Annual Cheeca Lodge and Spa All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament

Tournament participants will compete for trophies and prizes for releasing five different species of fish

Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge & Spa recently announced plans for the First Annual Cheeca Lodge & Spa All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament, to take place November 9-11, 2012. Tournament participants will compete for trophies and prizes for releasing five different species of fish:  snook, redfish, bonefish, tarpon and permit.  All social events, including a spectacular All American Barbecue on the Beach, will be held at Cheeca Lodge. Fishing headquarters for this tournament is World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada. All participating boats will leave and return to the World Wide Sportsman marina during the two days of fishing.

Wells Fargo has signed on as the major sponsor of the event, and tournament proceeds will benefit the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, an organization of concerned anglers and guides dedicated to conserving and enhancing bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and their environments through stewardship, research, education and advocacy. Since its formation in 1998, BTT has grown to include members from over 20 countries.

In addition, the tournament will honor wounded warriors through a partnership with the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, based in Bozeman, Montana, which will bring two wounded servicemen to compete in the event as a team. The nonprofit foundation’s mission is to provide injured servicemen and -women from Iraq and Afghanistan a high-quality restorative program using the healing therapy of fly-fishing. “We are very honored to have these distinguished servicemen at our event,” said Cheeca Lodge & Spa General Manager Herbert Spiegel.

The tounament entry fee is $2,000 per angler and includes  all three social events for the angler, a guest and the angler’s guide and his guest.  It also includes a continental breakfast dockside at World Wide Sportsman each morning.

The First Annual Cheeca Lodge & Spa All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament will kick off with an elaborate welcome reception and cocktail party on Friday, November 9, 2011. Fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 10 and Sunday, November 11, 2012.

On Saturday, November 10 at 6:30 p.m., tournament participants will attend a spectacular All-American Beachside Barbecue on the beach at Cheeca. This event was an extremely popular component of the George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament.  President George H.W. Bush competed in this tournament, which was Cheeca’s signature event from 1994-2003. That tournament raised thousands of dollars for a number of different charities over the years.

The All-American Tournament will culminate with a lavish Awards Banquet on Sunday, November 11. Awards for Grand Champion, Runner-Up, Grand Champion Team and winners in the Fly, Artificial and General Tackle Divisions will be presented in the form of 16 exclusive, signature trophies. Cheeca’s fishing tournament history is impressive. In addition to the George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament, Cheeca launched its Presidential Sailfish Tournament in 1989. That tournament has become the largest, most prestigious offshore tournament of its kind in the Florida Keys.

For more information, tournament brochure and entry forms, please contact Julie Olsen at (360)288-2436 PST or e-mail