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Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament Nov. 9

October 30, 2019
Pine Island Eagle

Mark your calendars for Saturday, Nov. 9, for the 16th Annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament. Using only the catch, photo and release method to score fish, this tournament is set to become a premier paddlesport fishing tournament here in Southwest Florida. It is expected to draw upwards of 80-plus anglers to local communities and waterways along the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile paddling trail that runs through the coastal waters of Pine Island, including Matlacha Pass.

For the fifth year, the tournament will benefit Candlelighters SW Florida. It was five years ago that Gulf Coast Kayak met Candlelighters and took some of them on a guided kayak tour. Last year the tournament raised $8,000 with this year's goal to raise "lots more for the kids and their families," said Bryan Stockbridge. He and his wife Diana are local business owners of Gulf Coast Kayak

Candlelighters Southwest Florida is an independent not for 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 cancer at 4 years of age. The website tells Erin's story.

The Candlelighters organization's mission is to provide support, education and assistance to families of children with cancer or blood disorders. They serve approximately 550 families in Lee, Charlotte, Hendry, Glades and Collier counties. For more about Candlelighters, call 239-432-2223.

Tournament registration is $65 for either a single kayak angler or single paddleboard angler. All fishing must be done in Lee County Waterways from a min-motorized watercraft. First place is $1,000; second $500 and third $250. Additional prizes are awarded to the first place SUP participants.

To register online, please go to:

Any questions, contact 239-283-1125 or

A captains meeting will be held Friday, Nov. 8, at PointYbel Brewing Company, Fort Myers. Mandatory registration is from 6-7 p.m. with the meeting at 7:30.

On Nov. 9, tournament weigh-in is from 12-3 p.m. Post tournament festivities follow with live music, food, silent auction items and much more.

Organizers have issued a public thank you to Olde Fish House and all the wonderful tournament sponsors. They make this tournament a success each year and help these kids and their families at a difficult time of their lives.



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