2012 Cheeca All-American Tournament

Photos from the All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament in November.

March 19, 2013
Backcountry Guide Richard Campiola and legendary angler Stu Apte enjoy a quiet moment at the dock at World Wide Sportsman before the start of the First Annual Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament.
Sixteen anglers fishing on 22 boats competed in the Cheeca All American. Here, the boats take off from World Wide Sportsman for the first day of competition.
A beautiful day of backcountry competition in the Florida Keys.
A beautiful day of backcountry competition in the Florida Keys.
Left to right: Gunnery Sergeant Brian Meyer casts from Capt. Mike Makowski’s skiff, while Capt. Blake Smith looks on. These Wounded Warriors took home several prestigious trophies at the All American, including Runner Up Grand Champion Team.
Left to right: Marine Corps Capt. Blake Smith, Guide Mike Makowski and Gunnery Sergeant Brian Meyer enjoy a beautiful day fishing in Islamorada.
Meyer shows off a small redfish, one of 11 fish he caught during the Cheeca All American.
Islamorada Guide Jeff Johnson manned one of Cheeca’s press boats for the All American, poling photographer Michael Halminski around to take these photos.
SWS editor in chief John Brownlee with a nice Florida Bay redfish.
Capt. Robert Klein with a chunky redfish.
Capt. Robert Klein was fishing with angler John Brownlee, catching this trophy redfish.
An American crocodile, a native saltwater species in Everglades National Park.
Coming home after a long day on the bay.
Left to right: Enjoying some fabulous sushi at the Cheeca All American are Scorekeeper Dianne Harbaugh, Cheeca Lodge General Manager Herbert Spiegel, Northwood Investments President John Kukral and Jonathan Wang, Managing Director of Northwood Investments, the company that owns Cheeca Lodge & Spa.
Left to right: Wounded Warrior Brian Meyer, Stu Apte and wounded soldier Blake Smith share some camaraderie at the Cheeca All American.
Cheeca Lodge throws a great party!
Sue and Sandy Moret, owners of Islamorada’s Florida Keys Outfitters, enjoy some delicious cuisine at the Cheeca Lodge All American Tournament.
Guides and anglers discuss strategies at the opening kick-off at the Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament.
Left to right: Cheeca Lodge General Manager Herbert Spiegel congratulates Capt. Kenny Knudsen, who accepted the “Best Photo” trophy on behalf of his anglers, Robert and William Cullen. Artist James Harris provided all the beautiful artwork for the All American.
Left to right: Blake Smith, USMC (ret.) accepts the Most Outstanding Catch award for releasing his first backcountry slam – tarpon, redfish and snook – from Cheeca Lodge General Manager as artist James Harris looks on.
Left to right: Artist James Harris presents the Grand Champion in the General Division to Blake Smith. Guiding him was Capt. Mike Makowski. Congratulating the team is Cheeca Lodge General Manager Herbert Spiegel.
Artificial Division Champion honors went to Steve Stanley, guided by Steve Thomas. From left to right: James Harris, Thomas, Stanley and Cheeca Lodge General Manager Herbert Spiegel.
Champion Angler in the Fly Division was John Rix of Sussex, England. Guide to Champion Angler was Chris Jones. From left to right: James Harris, Jones, Rix and Cheeca General Manager Herbert Spiegel.
In a stunning display of perseverance and skill, Capt. Blake Smith USMC (Ret.) from San Diego and Gunnery Sargent Brian Meyer from Oceanside California, took home the Runner Up Grand Champion Team trophies. Smith released two tarpon, five snook and 10 redfish. Meyer released three tarpon, one snook and seven redfish for a team total of 3,185 points. They were fishing with Capt. Mike Makowski. Smith and Makowski also took home the Grand Champion Angler and Guide trophies in the Bait Division with a total of 1,200 points. From left to right: James Harris, Capt. Makowski, Smith, Meyer and Cheeca Lodge General Manager Herbert Spiegel.
The Grand Champion Team trophies went to Jeff Harkavy from Coral Springs, Florida, and Steve Stanley from St. Petersburg, Florida. Both are Executive Board Members of the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the tournament’s beneficiary. Harkavy caught seven snook and 10 redfish; Stanley released 10 snook and 10 redfish for team total points of 4,150 points. They were guided by Capt. Steve Thomas. Left to right: Capt. Thomas, Harkavy, Stanley, James Harris and Herbert Spiegel.
Runner Up Grand Champion Angler was Mitch Howell from Plantation, Florida, who released one tarpon, 10 snook and 10 redfish for a total of 2,610 points. His guide was Capt. Dave Denkhert. Left to right: James Harris, Capt. Dave Denkhert, Mitch Howell and Herbert Spiegel.
The All American Grand Champion Angler was Wade Davis from Pompano Beach, Florida. Guided by Capt. Richard Black, Davis released two tarpon, 10 snook, and 10 redfish for a tournament total of 2,840 points. Left to right: James Harris, Capt. Black, Davis and Herbert Spiegel, General Manager of Cheeca Lodge.
All 22 anglers and 16 guides gathered for a Class Photo of the First Annual Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Tournament, Nov. 9-11, 2012. This prestigious event was a great success, raising funds for the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, and hosting two Wounded Warriors in honor of Veteran’s Day Weekend. This year’s All American is set for November 8-10, 2013. Cheeca will also host a brand new All Tackle Tarpon Tournament on May 2- 4, 2014.

More Photos