Mercury Outboards Baybone Celebrity Fishing Tournament back for 11th year in Upper Keys

Florida Keys Triple Crown of fishing has angler & team slots still available to “catch the cure for CF”; Permit and bonefish await fishermen in

famed catch, photograph & release event Sept. 28 -  30


KEY LARGO, In the Florida Keys — There’s still an opportunity to fish with a TV, music or sports personality in the 11TH Annual Mercury Outboards’ Baybone celebrity fishing tournament, scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 28 - 30, in the waters surrounding Key Largo.

This popular tournament, headquartered at the Westin Beach Resort (MM 97), is the second in the fall trilogy series of Mercury Outboards Redbone Celebrity Tournaments in the Fla. Keys to raise money to find a cure for cystic fibrosis.

Started in 1991, the Mercury Baybone targets bonefish and permit. Once caught the fish are all measured, photographed and immediately released at the boat.

Original artwork by nationally known artists are awarded as prizes to the top anglers and teams, as well as champion anglers in the general, spin and fly divisions. Artwork is also presented for the most fish released and the largest fish caught and released in each target species.

The Baybone’s grand champion angler will also receive a Rolex watch.


Angler and team entries still available

“Because of the tragedies in New York and Washington D.C. several of our anglers have had to back out of traveling to fish this tournament,” said executive director Susan Ellis. “So the tournament has a limited number of openings for participants and team entries, with great captains to guide them.” 

The tournament’s $2,500 individual entry fee includes two days of guided fishing with a celebrity and tickets to all of the tournament’s social functions. For a two-angler team, the entry fee is $3,000. Tickets for all of the social functions are also available at $125 per person. Since it’s start in 1988, the Redbone series has granted more than $2 million to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Registration for the Baybone is slated for Friday from 2 to 6 p.m. in the ballroom of the Westin Beach Resort. Registration is to be followed by a cocktail reception, rules meeting for anglers and guides, kickoff dinner and live auction. Fishing is set for 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29; and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30.

The awards banquet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information on fishing the Baybone or any of the Mercury Outboards Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series events, call Susan Ellis at (305) 664-2002.


Fishing’s Triple Crown; Competition thick among the best flats fishermen

Described by many as “the Fla. Keys triple crown of fishing”, the points race of the Mercury Redbone series is already heating up.  All four of the points leaders from the recent Mercury SLAM in Key West, are slated to be competing at the Baybone.

In the lead with 1000 points is SLAM winner Dan Zicari, Vero Beach, who is also the defending champion of the Baybone.  Second in the standing is Tim Mahaffey, Plantation, with 750, followed by Jim Bokor, Tavernier, at 500 points and newcomer Kal Blumberg, Ft. Lauderdale with 250. 

“Of the four at the top, both Zicari and Bokor have won the Redbone series grand championship title and the prestigious gold Rolex that goes with it,” said tournament director Gary Ellis. 

Ellis mentioned several other top event anglers who could be factors in the points race including Joe Viar, Alexandria, Va., Sharon Sydnor, Ft. Lauderdale, Islamorada’s councilman Jim Mooney and past series champion Mitch Howell, Plantation. 

“This series has attracted the ‘best of the best’ of the nation’s flats and sight fishermen and has been compared as sport fishing’s version of horse racing’s Triple Crown,” said Ellis. “It combines a camaraderie of guide and angler plus a unique strategy of hunting the hundreds of miles of Keys waters in three distinctly different areas for four species of fish (tarpon, redfish, permit and bonefish) with bonefish the common denominator at each of the three events.”

The 2001 points series race concludes with the third Fla. Keys trilogy event at the 14th Mercury/Cheeca Redbone Celebrity Tournament in Islamorada, November 2 – 4 for redfish and bonefish.

All of the Mercury Redbone series event winners will also advance to compete in the Rolex/IGFA Inshore Invitational Championship next Spring. 


Special one-day fly-fishing event precedes Mercury Baybone

The Seventh Annual Seamaster Superfly, a one-day, one-fly tournament, precedes the Baybone as fly-fishermen compete for combinations of bonefish and permit.

Registration is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, also at the Westin.  

Fishing is Friday, Sept. 28, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. A 5 p.m. awards ceremony follows at the Westin.


Meet the celebs among Baybone events open to the public

The public is invited to meet the celebrity anglers from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the Westin following the on-the-water action.

Among the celebrities competing are two-time NASA space shuttle astronaut Bruce Melnick, ESPN TV Spanish Fly show host Jose Wejebe and saxophonist, singer and actor “The Big Man” Clarence Clemons, who just performed on the worldwide broadcast America, A Tribute to Heroes and recently recorded a CD with his 12-piece Band of Faith. The list of celebs also includes football greats Eric Laakso and Jon Geisler of the Miami Dolphins and two Super Bowls, baseball’s Mike Stanley, recently retired from the Boston Red Sox, and pitchers Bill Hurst from the Florida Marlins and Rob Murphy from the Cincinnati Reds. Former world jai-alai star Joey Cornblit and Miami Channel 7’s Carmel Cafiero, who won the celebrity division at the Mercury SLAM, will also be there along with artists James Harris and Tim Borski from the Redbone Gallery.

“Clear Channel’s Sun 103 will be doing live radio remotes with the celebrities and anglers from the Westin both days,” said Ellis.


Silent auction and fishing boutique also open to the public

Also open to the public is the tournament’s silent auction at the Westin. Auction items can be viewed and bid upon from 2 to 6 p.m. Friday, 3 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 2:30 till the 6:30 p.m. bid closing on Sunday.   

            We have a lot of great items from local Keys businesses, art from the Redbone Galley, boutique items and much more to bid on,” said Susan Ellis.

“The public is invited to join us for hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar Saturday and Sunday afternoons at the dockside patio end of the grand ballroom,” she said. “We’ll also have raffle tickets for our two boating packages from Action Craft and Hell’s Bay Boat Works, both rigged with powerful Mercury Outboards.  It all benefits CF charities.” 

 Platinum Plus sponsors of the Mercury Outboards title sponsored Redbone series include Rich Products, Robert-James Sales and Rolex.  Platinum sponsors include Cheeca Lodge, Orvis, Seamaster Reels, Seacoast Supply Co., Action craft Boats, American Specialties, Redbone Rods by Hurricane and Hell’s Bay Boat Works.





Sept. 27, Thursday

7:00 p.m.            Seamaster Superfly Tournament registration and kick-off dinner,

                                    Salon B Westin Beach Resort.

Sept. 28, Friday

            7:00 a.m.            Continental Breakfast, Seamaster Superfly participants.

                                    “Treetops”, Westin Beach Resort

            7:30 a.m.     Boats depart for Seamaster Superfly and GO FISHING.

2-6:00 p.m.            Baybone Registration, Angler/Guide/Celebrity. Salon C, Westin Beach Resort

           2-6:00 p.m.     Silent Auction, Salon C, Westin Beach Resort

            3:00 p.m.     Lines out of the water - Seamaster Superfly Tournament.

            5:00 p.m.     *** GUIDES for Seamaster Superfly Tournament must

                                    check-in with Scorekeeper prior to 5:00 p.m. ***

6:00 p.m.            Cocktail Reception -Prefunction Terrace, Westin Beach Resort

            6:30 p.m.            Guides and Anglers Rules Meeting, Ballroom

            7:00 p.m.             MERCURY MARINE/ACTION CRAFT KICK-OFF DINNER

            8:00 p.m.     Live Auction.


Sept. 29, Saturday            *** GUIDES must check-in with Scorekeeper prior to departure

6:30 a.m.            Continental Breakfast for Anglers, Guides, Celebrities and Guests.

                                    “Treetops” Westin Beach Resort.

            7:30 a.m.            Blessing of the Fleet, Boats depart and GO FISHING.

                                    Westin Beach Resort Dock.

            3-5:00 p.m.            Dockside Party, meet the celebrities at Salon B, Westin                                               Beach Resort.

5:00 p.m.            ***GUIDES must check-in with Scorekeeper prior to 5:00 p.m.***

Sept. 30, Sunday            ***GUIDES must check-in with Scorekeeper prior to departure

6:30 a.m.            GUIDES SIGN IN

Continental Breakfast. “Treetops”, Westin Beach Resort.

            7:00 a.m.     Boats may depart and GO FISHING.

            3:00 p.m.     Lines out of the water.      

3-5:00 p.m.            Celebrity Dockside Party. Salon B, Westin Beach Resort ***GUIDES must check-in with Scorekeeper prior to 5:00 p.m.***

6:00 p.m.            Cocktail Party Salon C, Westin Beach Resort.

6:30 p.m.            Silent Auction closes.

7:00 p.m.            Awards Banquet, Ballroom, Westin Beach Resort.


CONTACT:            Pete Johnson

                        Johnson Communications, at 480-951-3654