The results are in from The Woody Foundation’s 3rd Annual Lionfish Bash, and it was a total slam dunk for all those involved. The family friendly spearfishing event, based out of Bimini Sands Resort & Marina, started in 2011 to help raise awareness about invasive lionfish. Since then, more than 1,000 lionfish were removed from the waters around Bimini via this tournament alone. It's fair to say that the real winners from each bash are the underwater ecosystems surrounding Bimini, Bahamas.
The total number of lionfish caught during this year’s tournament topped out at 338. Plus, this year’s tournament saw several records broken. That includes a tournament-record, 2.42-pound lionfish taken by CJ Crooks, of the Bimini Biological Field Station. Team G&R landed an astoundinging 207 lionfish, shattering their 2012 record catch of 143 fish.
Nothing Goes to Waste
After receiving instructions from the Bimini Sands staff, the participants filleted their catches. The dorsal, anal, and pelvic spines of lionfish pack a painful sting, so cut those parts off before working on the fillets. Chef Edison, of the resort’s Bimini Twist restaurant, prepared lionfish dishes for everyone at the Bash Awards Banquet.
More Than Just a Tournament
This year’s Lionfish Bash raised approximately $28,000 for The Woody Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aids in the recovery of people with spinal injuries. The foundation donated a portion of the proceeds from the 2013 Lionfish Bash to Jackson Rehabilitation Hospital in Miami. Over the past three years, the tournament has raised more than $70,000 for The Woody Foundation.
“The Third Annual Lionfish Bash was yet again an incredible adventure at Bimini Sands Resort,” said Woody Beckham, the inspiration for the Woody Foundation. (Woody sustained a spinal cord injury at age 22 in a college rugby match that rendered him paralyzed from the chest down.)
“The combination of helping the environment and supporting an impactful cause during a weekend filled with family and fun creates an amazing event. The overwhelming support from sponsors, family and friends makes the event so much more than just another fishing tournament. It has created a small community coming together year after year for a greater cause.”