sun staff writer
April is tournament time in Florida. The mangroves
are in bloom and the lure of spring entices budding
anglers and old salts alike to scores of tournaments
that proliferate on both coasts of the Sunshine State.
During the last decade, the growing awareness of the
vulnerability of fish stocks led some anglers to question
the wisdom of so many tournaments. On some days in
April and May, local waters are littered with boats
as numerous tournaments compete for anglers in surrounding
In 1985, the Tampa Chapter of the Florida Conservation
Association (CCA) came up with an all release concept
that allowed anglers to compete while conserving critical
fisheries. Anglers from around the state fished this
novel tournament, including Sarasotas Captain
Rick Grassett. Grassett was so impressed with the
tournament that he lobbied his local CCA chapter to
start its own all-release tournament.
Ken Kinzie, of Bradenton, caught this redfish during
last years tournament. The redfish took a DOA
jig supplied by the tournament.
SUN PHOTO/RUSTY CHINNIS
While Grassett wasnt interested in actually running
the tournament, his enthusiasm encouraged chapter founders
Scott Jerrems, Captain Jonnie Walker, Chris Likens and
Lowe Morrison to organize the first Sarasota CCA All Release
Tournament in 1995.
During that first tournament, there were 40 participants
who measured, photographed, and released snook, redfish
and trout. Over the years the tournament grew and expanded
as the concept of "no kill" tournaments spread.
Grassett now runs the tournament with the help of a host
The 11th annual Sarasota CCA Photo All-Release Challenge
will be held on Saturday, April 29, out of the Sarasota
Cay Club (formerly the Holiday Inn Airport-Marina), 7150
N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota. There will be a mandatory
angler meeting on Friday evening, April 28.
Anglers will fish for snook, redfish and trout in a catch-photo-release
format with lures or flies. Each angler/boat will be provided
the use of a Polaroid camera and measuring board. Each
angler will receive an identical box of lures or flies
(which are the only lures/flies that they may use), a
package of film and a scorecard. The fishing area is from
Tampa Bay to Charlotte Harbor, including both Tampa Bay
and Charlotte Harbor.
More than 15 plaques and gift certificates will be awarded
in the Grand Slam, Angler, Largest Fish, Ladies and Fly
Fishing divisions. Cost is $85 per angler ($30 for youth
anglers 12 and under)) and also includes a T-shirt, a
CCA membership, hors d'oeuvres on Friday evening and awards
dinner on Saturday evening. Non-angler meals are available
at a cost of $20 for Friday evening and $30 for Saturday
evening. The event will also feature an upscale raffle
and a silent auction of fishing tackle, equipment, clothing
and a guided kayak fishing trip.
I can think of no better way to spend a day than fishing
for a worthy cause. Not only will anglers be able to compete
against some of the states finest anglers, they
can do so knowing that all fish will be released to fight
again. The cost of the tournament is a moot point as the
combination of lure and fly packs, dinner, CCA membership,
and T-Shirt make the investment a great deal. Call now
to make sure you dont miss the cut-off! Contact
Capt. Rick Grassett, Tournament Co-Director, for more
info at (941) 923-7799 or firstname.lastname@example.org