In late February, 19 teams set out from Islamorada with the goal of catching the largest 2 snook and redfish on fly rods as part of the Backcountry Fly Championship. The teams consisted of a guide and angler, and the format allowed teams to score their largest 2 redfish and largest 2 snook each day for two days. The Grand Champion team was whoever accumulated the most total inches with their longest 2 redfish and 2 snook.
Rick Moeller and Capt. Mark Gilman, both of Islamorada, scored big to win the championship, and also capture the largest snook and redfish of the tournament. They were crowned the Grand Champions at the awards BBQ held on the beach at The Lorelei Cabana Bar. Their largest redfish measured 26.5 inches and 27 inches, and their snook ruler out to 28 inches and 29.5 inches. That’s a grand total of 111 points. The next closest team, taking runner-up honors, was Frank Criscola of Far Hills, NJ with Capt. Chris Jones of Islamorada. They scored 99.5 points total.
There were 8 teams which measured their limit of 2 snook and 2 reds. In total, 27 snook and 31 redfish were measured during the 2-day event. Custom-engraved Nautilus fly reels were the awards, and the winning team of Moeller and Gilman took 6 of them home! Due to its popularity, look out for a fall version of this event in October called The Backcountry Fly Fall Championship, or BFFC for short.