Presidential Bonefish Tourney Raises Funds for Conservation

November 19-21, Islamorada, Florida

Featuring a field of accomplished fly-anglers, the ninth annualGeorge Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament took place inIslamorada. Trophies were awarded for first and second place,largest fish, most releases, largest permit and team points. Thetournament was held at the Cheeca Lodge, a favorite destination offormer President George Bush. Bush attended with sports legend CurtGowdy, who was the master of ceremonies for the kickoff. Thehighlight of the evening was a eulogy for baseball great TedWilliams given by Bush and Gowdy. Williams, who passed away earlierthis year, was an Islamorada resident and ardent fly-fisherman. Thetwo men told stories of Williams, including fly-fishing adventuresand exploits on the ball field.

The tournament included 61 anglers in 44 boats fishing out ofWorld Wide Sportsman in Islamorada. A total of 81 bonefish werecaught and released during the two-day event. There were sevenentries in the fly-fishing division, fished under IGFA rules. Tocompete for any trophy other than for the most releases, anglershad to land a fish of 8 pounds or more. Anglers were allowed threebonefish during the tournament for weight scoring, but only two perday.

Bob Wilson, fishing with Capt. Craig Brewer, took the largestbonefish in the fly division -- 11 pounds 8 ounces. CarlAnderson, fishing with Capt. Tim Klein of Islamorada, had the mostreleases, seven; the most tagged, nine; and the second largestfish, 10 pounds 8 ounces. No permit were landed in the flydivision. Anglers tagged 57 bonefish during the tournament. FormerPresident Bush broke a two-year dry spell with a 10-pound 8-ouncebone on opening day. Funds raised benefited Tarpon & BonefishUnlimited.

--Rusty Chinnis