It’s one of the most fun, rewarding and longest running fishing series of competitions in the Florida Keys as the Redbone Celebrity Tournaments kicks off September 9 – 11, with the Robert James Sales S.L.A.M. benefiting cystic fibrosis research.
The S.L.A.M., short for Southernmost Light-Tackle Anglers Masters, is part of the Redbone Trilogy in the Keys, now in its third decade to raise money for the fight against CF. The 22nd annual S.L.A.M. targets the “big-three” game fish of the Florida flats – tarpon, permit and bonefish. Catching all three is known as a “flats grand slam.”
The other two-day tournaments in the Keys trilogy are the 21st annual Baybone in Key Largo (Oct. 7-9) for bonefish and permit, and the 24th annual Redbone, in Islamorada (Nov. 4-6) for redfish and bonefish. Each event is preceded by a one day Superfly tournament for fly anglers, sponsored by The Angling Company.
“These weekend events are the most exciting experiences a fly or light tackle angler can ever have,” said ex-NFL Tampa Bay Bucs lineman Mark Cooper who hopes to capture the celebrity grand champion title in his rivalry with Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs who serves as the SLAM’s celebrity host.
Capt. Gary and Susan Ellis founded the Redbone tournament in 1988 as a grass roots effort to help victims like their daughter Nicole who have CF. With the help of baseball legend Ted Williams it raised $16,000 that first year and has since grown to nearly 30 events internationally raising over $15 million for CF research. Last year’s combined events alone brought in $1.4 million.
The events also gained fame on TV as hundreds of top celebrities have competed in the past including General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, sportscaster Curt Gowdy, super model Lauren Hutton, MLB pitcher Tim Wakefield, astronaut Bruce Melnick and the late saxophonist “The Big Man” Clarence Clemons.
“There are still a limited number of openings for participant and team entries with great captains to guide them,” said Ellis. “A two-angler team entry fee is $3,500 which includes the guide fees for two days of fishing, all social functions such as the kick-off party, continental breakfasts, box lunches, dockside parties with hors d’oeuvres, Sunday awards barbeque and a tournament bag. The tournament’s $3,000 individual entry fee is also available for those who would like to fish with a celebrity.”
“Our host hotel in Key West is the beautiful Double Tree Grand Key Resort,” said Susan Ellis, “and our dockside host is the Hurricane Hole Restaurant and Marina.”
Original artwork by nationally known marine artists are awarded as prizes to the top anglers and teams in general, spin and fly division, and the largest and most fish caught and released in each target species.
Besides Robert James Sales the other major sponsors in The Trilogy includes Rich Products, Redbone Rods, Sea Safe Suncare, Image Graphics, Double Tree Grand Key Resort, The Islander, Dove Creek Lodge and DragonFly Boatworks.
For more info call the Redbone at 305-664-2002, or go online at www.redbone.org .