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The Great Calusa Blueway Tournament set for Nov. 10-11

October 4, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Mark your calendars for Friday, Nov. 10, and Saturday, Nov. 11, for the 14th Annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing tournament.

The Great Calusa Blueway is a 190-mile paddling trail that runs through the coastal waters of Pine Island, including Matlacha Pass. It attracts everyone from first-time kayakers to advanced paddlers and the Blueway is home to abundant marine life, shore birds and crustaceans.

The tournament will feature Single Paddlesport Anglers and Tandem Paddlesport Anglers on Friday at a $65 entry fee. Saturday will kick off with the Calusa Slam Sponsorship, Calusa Silver King Sponsorship, Calusa Linesider Sponsorship, Calusa Redfish Sponsorship, and the Calusa Seatrout Sponsorship.

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Visit: 2017calusablue waykayakfishingtourna

"This is the 14th annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament and our third year as sponsors," said Gulf Coast Kayak co-owner Bryan Stockbridge. "Gulf Coast Kayak is currently looking for sponsors and interested paddle sport anglers to participate. We hope to make this event even more successful than last year!"

For the third time, the tournament will benefit Candlelighters of Southwest Florida. About three years ago, Gulf Coast Kayak met the Candlelighters and took some of them on a kayak tour.

"We were very moved by what they do and invited them two years ago for this event," Stockbridge said.

Candlelighters of Southwest Florida is an independent non-profit (501c3) charity founded by Klair Snellbaker shortly before the loss of her daughter Erin to cancer in 1984. Erin was diagnosed with cancer when she was 2 1/2 and died from the disease at just 4 years old.

The website has a page entitled "On Erin's Wings." The mission statement of Candlelighters is "to provide support, education and assistance to families of children with cancer or blood disorders and the professionals who care for them."

"Last year we raised $5,400 for Candlelighters," Stockbridge said. "One hundred percent of our tournament proceeds will again benefit Candlelighters of Southwest Florida. This non-profit is dedicated to providing support, education and assistance to families of children with cancer or blood disorders."

Last year's first place winning fish were caught by David McCleaf., at 72 Inches.

The Captains Meeting is set for Friday, Nov. 10, at PointYbel Brewing Company in Fort Myers at 7 p.m.

The tournament at Gulf Coast Kayak is set for Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha. Weigh-in will be from 12-3 p.m. There will be food, music, 50/50 raffles and more!



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