To say J.R. Cochran had a decent couple of days fishing in the recent Mosquito Lagoon Celebrity Fishing Tournament would be more than a little bit of an understatement. Cochran was dominant in the event, taking Grand Champion honors and also teaming with Matt Porterfield to win the Team Grand Champions’ prize.
And just for grins, Cochran added the award of most trout to his list of winning categories at the event held in the flats near Cape Canaveral. Guide Dave Roberson aided Cochran in his victories.
Celebrity Grand Champion was Vaughn Cochran (guided by Warren Hinrichs), and fly champion was Gary Jennings with guide Nick Sassic. Bruce McAllister was the spin/plug champion (guided by Scott Tripp) and Andy Bunting (guided by Mike Mann) won the award of most redfish caught and released. Largest redfish honors went to Bob Allinson with guide Brian Pahmeier and Greg Jaap won the prize for largest trout, guided by John Frazier.
The Mosquito Lagoon Celebrity Fishing Tournament is part of the Redbone Red*Trout Series, and is one of approximately 30 Redbone Celebrity tournaments that are held each year, with all proceeds benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF). Redbone events raised $1,568,000 in 2007 alone, and have raised more than $11 million in 20 years. Mercury Marine is the official outboard engine of the Redbone events.
Financial support from the Redbone events has allowed tournaments such as the Mosquito Lagoon Celebrity Fishing Tournament help CFF make tremendous progress in the field of cystic fibrosis research and care. The median age of survival for a person with CF has improved from early childhood in the 1950s to 36.8 years today. Cystic fibrosis continues to be a critical health matter, however, as most individuals with the disease must battle chronic lung infections for their entire lives. At least one person dies from CF each day.
CFF’s mission is to assure the means to cure and control the genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive systems of approximately 30,000 children and young adults in the United States.
Redbone founder Gary Ellis and his wife, Susan, have supported CFF for two decades, not only because of its innovative and effective research efforts, but also for a very personal reason: their daughter, Nicole, was diagnosed with CF as an infant in the mid-1980s. Nicole is now thriving in the corporate world of international marketing, and she has witnessed – first hand – the advances made in the treatment of the disease.
The seeds for the Mosquito Lagoon Celebrity Fishing Tournament were planted in 1988, when anglers, fishing guides and sports celebrities organized a tournament in this Florida Keys village. The ground rules were simple – to win, the angler must catch and release at least one redfish and one bonefish.
The inaugural Islamorada event was a huge success, and spawned the “redbone” moniker. The current format of the individual tournaments includes freshwater, offshore and flats fishing.