Mercury/Cheeca Redbone yields to Hurricane Michelle


ISLAMORADA, In the Fla. Keys --- For the safety of its 240 anglers, guides, celebrities and volunteers the organizers of the Mercury Outboards/Cheeca Redbone postponed the 14th annual fishing tournament Saturday with the pending advance of Hurricane Michelle. 

 Officials called off the tournament before the contestants launched for the first of two days of fishing shortly before hurricane watch advisories and the mandatory evacuation of the Keys by tourists was announced.   

“It’s just a strategic withdrawal in our efforts to raise money for cystic fibrosis research,” said founder and tournament director Gary Ellis. “We’ll be back another day,” said the saddened Ellis who joined other residents in boarding up and preparing to leave the Keys.

 He said the events’ silent and radio auctions have already been tentatively rescheduled for Dec. 8th at Cheeca Lodge.  An art auction with actress/artist/fly-fisherwoman Jane Seymour, one of the 40 celebrities at the event, will also be rescheduled for a later date.

 Ellis said a board meeting would determine if the Redbone tournament would be rescheduled.  It was the final tournament in the Redbone’s (redfish and bonefish) fall trilogy of Fla. Keys flats competitions.

 This was the second tournament this fall that was deferred as a sold out Mercury Redbone @ Large in Montauk, Long Island NY, was canceled a week after the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York City. 

 The tournaments, which are expanding nationwide, have raised over $2 million for CF research funding.