The 14TH Annual Mercury Outboards/ Cheeca Redbone celebrity fishing tournament

Hurricane postponed 14th Mercury/Cheeca Redbone Celebrity Fishing Tournament is rescheduled

Nov 30 – Dec. 2 dates set for famed catch & release event


ISLAMORADA, In the Florida Keys — The 14TH Annual Mercury Outboards/ Cheeca Redbone celebrity fishing tournament, interrupted by Hurricane Michelle, has been rescheduled for Friday through Sunday, Nov. 30  - Dec. 2.

With the possible approach of the then category 4 hurricane, the bulk of the 240 anglers, celebrities and volunteers who were non-residents were ordered to evacuate the Keys before the start of the first day of fishing, Saturday, Nov. 3.

The tournament is the crown jewel in the “triple crown” Mercury Redbone series of Fla. Keys flats tournaments to help raise money to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. The other two celebrity tournaments, held earlier in the fall, included the 12th Mercury SLAM in Key West and the 11th Mercury Baybone in Key Largo.

“We are getting positive response with the rescheduling of the Redbone,” said founder and tournament director Capt. Gary Ellis.  “A number of anglers from as far away as Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, California and Arizona have called and indicated they are ready to get back into the competition.”

Ellis said the spirit of the South Florida communities has been high as well. “We’ve gotten a lot of encouraging calls,” he said. “The newspapers here in Islamorada and communities throughout the Keys said they’ll get behind us to make it a success. That type of camaraderie is part of the history of Islamorada and the Keys people.”

He said the events’ silent and radio auctions, with over 300 items, have also been rescheduled at the Cheeca. The silent auction will begin on Nov. 30 to Dec. 1, and the radio auction Dec. 1 on Easy 96.9 (WKEZ-FM) from 2 to 9 p.m.

One of the top items in the silent auction will be a 17-ft 8-in Hell’s Bay Whipray skiff powered by a Mercury 60 hp 4-stroke valued at $31,000.  Ellis said the starting bid will begin at $22,000.

Ellis said he hopes to soon have dates set for a special reception, dinner and art auction at Pierre’s with actress/artist/fly-fisherwoman Jane Seymour that was also postponed because of the storm.

Frame-able autographed posters by Ms. Seymour will be given out with the $100 entries into the Mercury powered Action Craft boat raffle. The May 2002 drawing for the boat/motor/trailer is limited to 1,000 tickets.

Started in 1988, the Mercury/Cheeca Redbone targets the redfish and bonefish. Anglers score multiple points by catching both species. The fish are all measured, photographed and released at the boat. The tournaments, each with targeted species for that locale, are expanding nationwide to over a dozen sites with the addition of the Mercury Redbone @ Large series. They have raised over $2 million for CF research funding.  For more information about the series please call the Redbone offices at 305-664-2002.