The Friends of Rookery Bay and Coastal Conservation Association of Florida jointly hosted the inaugural Guardian Anglers Charity Fishing Tournament on Nov. 7-8. The two-day event engaged local anglers and supporters in a catch-and-release challenge and fundraiser, reeling in a total of $40,000 to benefit both organizations.
“We are pleased to work with so many generous donors and sponsors in our community,” said Friends of Rookery Bay president Craig Seibert. “Now, more than ever, support from the community is critical in ensuring our coastal resources are protected for future generations.”
During Saturday’s tournament, anglers photographed and documented all snook, trout and redfish caught and released in the reserve between Gordon Pass and Lostman’s River. At the awards dinner, 12 teams took home plaques and prizes. Team “Short-B Morton” won the artificial division with 63.75 combined inchesfor their grand slam, while team “Joe Snook” took the top prize in the angler division with 61.5 total inches.
More than 90 people participated in Friday’s fundraising auction. The event was sponsored and supported by First Integrity Bank, MINTO Communities, Dock Masters Naples, Proforma Printing, Al Calvario, Pelican Bend Restaurant, Naples Beach Brewery, Southern Wine & Spirits, Laird Lyle — Attorney, Horizons Rentals, Zookie’s Sports Pub & Grill, Fishing Ammo and Back to Nature.
The event hosts, both 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, are already seeking sponsors to help make next year’s event even more successful. The Friends of Rookery Bay supports fisheries research and habitat restoration efforts underway within the 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The Coastal Conservation Association of Florida members protect our marine fisheries resources. For more information about the event, email firstname.lastname@example.org.