Hailed for nearly a decade as the “Super Bowl” of fly and light-tackle inshore fishing, the International Game Fish Association’s Inshore World Championship stands to grow even more prestigious thanks to a recently announced partnership with the Florida Keys Flyfishing School & Outfitters, Inc., dba Florida Keys Outfitters.
The championship, which began in 2001, has grown into the sport’s premiere inshore fishing series. To be invited to this prestigious all-release event, anglers must win one of the many qualifying tournaments located around the world.
“The Inshore World Championship has anglers representing more countries than any other inshore fishing tournament in the world,” says IGFA Corporate Relations Director Mike Myatt. “We have over 50 qualifying tournaments from seven different countries this year including 12 states here in the USA.”
Florida Keys Outfitters will manage operations of the championship starting with the 2009 event. The IGFA will remain the championship’s sole non-profit benefactor with a fundraiser and auction for the IGFA to be held at the championship. The championship will continue to use the first-class amenities and guides of Islamorada, Fla., its host location. The Florida Keys Outfitters/IGFA Inshore World Championship is scheduled for July 7-9, 2009.
In 1989 Sandy Moret founded The Florida Keys Fly Fishing School and began holding fly fishing seminars with a list of now legendary instructors. Just to name a few, Flip Pallot, Chico Fernandez, Steve Rajeff, Steve Huff, Rick Ruoff and Moret provide extensive hands-on instruction five times a year at the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada. Now in its 20th year, it is unparalleled as the place to learn or improve fly fishing skills, whether on the flats or in blue water. Sandy progressed from the school to opening Florida Keys Outfitters, a specialty salt water fly fishing shop in Islamorada, in 1992.
Since then Florida Keys Outfitters has become recognized as one of the premiere salt water fly fishing shops in the world, specializing in providing premium fly fishing equipment and flies along with expert rigging and experienced advice. The shop also offers an excellent selection of men and women’s sportswear, weather gear, gifts and accessories. Anglers are also able to book some of the finest, professional fishing guides in the Keys through the shop.
Florida Keys Outfitters, the Green Turtle Restaurant & Bar and the Redbone Art Gallery share the recently renovated landmark Green Turtle Inn in the heart of Islamorada, making it a must-stop location when visiting the Keys. In addition, Florida Keys Outfitters operates The Islamorada Sailfly Tournament, now in its eighth year and is said by many to be one of the most challenging events in the Keys.
“I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to fish for so many great gamefish in so many places around this watery planet over the years. We have made countless friends and introduced thousands of people to the spectacular inshore fishery of the Keys through the school and shop. To further expand in the angling community by teaming with the IGFA and continuing this incredible event is a tremendous opportunity for all of us at Florida Keys Outfitters where our goal is to take the tournament to new heights,” said Moret, who will take on the role of tournament director and event producer.
“I am also very focused on helping the IGFA continue its role in preserving the traditions and heritage of angling excellence. The standards established through the angling rules and records of the IGFA are what put the “sport” in sport fishing. To catch a great fish or compete according to those rules gives us all a benchmark by which to measure distinction among anglers.”
The championship continues to grow each year, and the IGFA is looking forward to continuing that momentum through the new partnership with Florida Keys Outfitters.
“We’re excited about partnering with Sandy and his great staff,” Myatt said. “They know the drill and what it takes to put on a quality tournament. And, with their flyfishing and light tackle expertise, the level of the Championship will be elevated to new heights.”
The IGFA says the new partnership will allow the organization to concentrate on its core programs, namely conservation and angler education.
“The tournament has served as a means for us to get out information on the IGFA rules, ethics and conservation philosophies,” Myatt says. “This philosophy is mirrored by Florida Keys Outfitters and will provide the IGFA with a platform in Islamorada, where we have great partners and friends.”
To find out more about registering a tournament as a qualifier for the 2009 Florida Keys Outfitters/IGFA Inshore World Championship, contact Denise at [email protected] or call 305-664-5423. For sponsorship information contact Moret at [email protected] or call 305-664-5423. Myatt can be reached at [email protected] or call 954-927-2628.