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15th annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament this weekend

December 5, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8 and 9, the 15th Annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament will be held.

The Great Calusa Blueway is a 190-mile paddling trail that runs through the coastal waters of Pine Island Sound, including Matlacha Pass.

The tournament will feature a Single Paddlesport Angler category with a $65 entry fee. There will be cash prizes for first, second and third places and also prizes for Top SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) Angler and Top Female Angler.

The objective of the tournament is to catch and photograph the longest "slam," consisting of one redfish, one snook,and one sea trout per angler.

Gulf Coast Kayak co-owner Bryan Stockbridge stated that they are still looking for sponsors and anglers to participate.

"Last year was a big success, and we hope to make this year even bigger," Stockbridge said. "Last year the tournament raised $8,000 and again this year 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Candlelighters Southwest Florida."

This is the third year that the tournament will benefit Candlelighters, an independent not for profit 501c3 charity founded by Klair Snellbaker.

Snellbaker founded the organization in 1984 after she lost her 4-year-old daughter Erin to cancer. The website has a page entitled "On Erin's wings." The mission is to provide education, support and assistance to families of children with cancer or blood disorders.

The captains meeting for the Blueway tournament is Friday, Dec. 7, at Point Ybel Brewing Company in Fort Myers at 7 p.m. All anglers MUST attend the captains meeting to receive rules and requirements.

The tournament, presented by Gulf Coast Kayak, takes place at The Olde Fish House Marina, Matlacha on Dec. 8.

Weigh-in will be from 12-3 p.m., and there will be food, music, silent auction items, 50/50, and tickets sold for a chance to win a Body Glove Mariner Paddle Board.

The tournament weekend continues Dec. 9 at The Olde Fish House with a band performing from 1-4. Tickets will still be sold for the paddle board drawing and bids for the silent auction items. There will be another 50/50 and the silent auction winners and paddle board winner will be announced.

Tickets for the Body Glove Mariner Paddle Board can be purchased at Gulf Coast Kayak through Friday, Dec. 7.

There's still time to register or become a sponsor the tournament.

For more information or to register for the tournament, go to



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