The challenge is there for anglers, guides and celebrities alike; finding, catching and releasing permit, bonefish and tarpon -- the grand slam of flats fishing -- while scoring the most points in fly, artificial and bait categories at the 24th S.L.A.M. Sept. 6 - 8.
Angler entries are available in the S.L.A.M. (Southernmost Light-Tackle Anglers Master), which include celebrities MLB Hall of Famer Wade Boggs and NASA astronaut Bruce Melnick. Artwork is awarded to the top anglers, teams and guides in numerous categories.
Also making up the Robert James Sales Keys Trilogy is the 23nd Baybone in Key Largo, Oct.11 - 13, and the 26th annual Redbone, Nov. 1 - 3 in Islamorada, which began the celebrated series to become the genesis of more tournaments for CF research funding across N. America.
And there’s a challenge for cystic fibrosis researchers, the tournament’s beneficiaries as they move ever-so-closer to catch a cure that could change thousands of CF patients’ lives. The strides in medical research have been significant says Redbone founder Capt. Gary Ellis.
“Remarkable advancements increasing the life expectancy of young CF sufferers have been made over the 26 years since we started these tournaments,” said Ellis, “especially now with the most promising ones through gene research. It's amazing how far they've come, but there's still no cure and our tournaments continue in full force to help them."
The DoubleTree Grand Key Resort is the host hotel with registration, reception and live and silent auctions on Friday. It’s also the setting for the Sunday awards banquet at 7 p.m.
The S.L.A.M. is preceded by the Superfly, a one-day, one-fly competition for the same fish trio sponsored by The Angling Company in Key West. The Thursday, Sept. 5, registration is set for 6 p.m., at the Hurricane Hole Restaurant & Marina, at mile marker 4.5 Oceanside. The fly fishing tournament is slated for Friday, with an awards ceremony beginning at 5 p.m.
The Hurricane Hole is also the site for the 3 – 5 p.m. dockside parties after fishing on Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The S.L.A.M.’s entry fee is $3,500 for a two-angler team or $3,000 for an angler to fish with a celebrity and includes two days’ charter fees with a professional guide. The entry fee for the Superfly is $350 per angler who also fishes the S.L.A.M. or $500 per angler if not.
The Redbone began in 1988 by the Capt. Gary and Susan Ellis as a grassroots effort to help victims like their daughter, Nicole, who have CF. With help from baseball legend Ted Williams and his celebrity friends to attract anglers, $16,000 was raised that first year.
The Redbone has spawned over two dozen fishing events across the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and the Bahamas raising more than $18 million for scientists at the CF Foundation.
With title sponsor Robert James Sales other Redbone Trilogy sponsors include Redbone Rods, Rich Products, Double Tree Grand Key Resort, Hurricane Hole, Dove Creek Lodge, Kall Graphics, Image Graphics DragonFly Boatworks,The Lorelei, The Islander Resort, Snappers, Power Pole, Eva-Kool USA, Morada Green (suncare products) and Thomas & Thomas.
For more info on this unique Fla. Keys series or the other tournaments in the Redbone family of events call the Redbone office at 305-664-2002 or go online to www.redbone.org .