Tarpon anglers know the feel of the bite and the thrill of the fight. Both opportunities presented themselves soon at the Redbone@Large Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tourney, April 26 – 28, in the middle of the Sportfishing Capital of the World.
One angler with a Space Coast connection will be travelling to Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, to take his chances at catching a giant tarpon. “It’s always an awesome weekend,” said popular celebrity guest host Bruce Melnick, a NASA astronaut of the Discovery and Endeavor space shuttle flights. “The tarpon seem to be everywhere and to catch and release them is something every angler needs to experience.”
No stranger to high flying action, the space adventurer, who has released over 50 tarpon, smiled as he recalled his biggest battle with a tournament record brute silverking two years ago.
Melnick said, “That year while motoring out at daybreak for the final round of fishing we were treated to a great surprise of watching the space station fly overhead for several minutes, followed by my lengthy battle with the 170 plus pound tarpon, and then a breath-taking sunrise. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” he beamed.
The popular event raises funds and awareness for medical research aimed at finding a cure for cystic fibrosis. The spring event is part of Redbone@Large Celebrity Tournament Series now in its 25th year. The Redbone has grown to nearly 30 annual international events since 1988.
The tournament names winners in three divisions, bait, artificial and fly. Any tarpon over 48 inches in length qualifies. The competition is an all-release format. Awards will go to the grand champion angler, lady grand champion, team and runner-ups in those divisions.
The Islander Resort near Mile Marker 82 on the Atlantic side is the headquarters with registration kicking off Friday followed by a cocktail reception, hors d’oeuvres and silent auction.
The next morning across U.S. 1 bayside, the Lore-lei Cabana Bar and Marina is the collecting point for the anglers in the three fishing sessions. With a skilled Keys guide the two person teams begin fishing at dawn from 5:30 -10 a.m., on Saturday and Sunday with a middle Saturday session at dusk, from 4 – 8 p.m.
The tournament closes with a Sunday awards luncheon at the Islamorada Fishing Club adjacent to the Lore-lei from 11:30 to 2 p.m.
For tournament information on this and other Redbone tournaments across the U.S., and several international sites, go to the Redbone website at www.redbone.org , or phone Redbone executive director Susan Ellis at 305-664-2002 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for information on another tarpon contest that last all year long.
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Angler Alert: Don’t forget to log you catch online at the Angler Action Program.