PUERTO JIMENEZ, Costa Rica (March 9, 2006) - This once-quiet, remote town of the 1960s has evolved into one of the largest and most vibrant villages on the Osa Peninsula. But even though the place has grown significantly in the last 40 years or so, the scarlet macaws can still be seen floating above the visitors lucky enough to be a part of the lush island setting.
Some of the lucky guests in 2006 will be anglers heading to town for the Crocodile Bay Osa Classic, scheduled for April 2-8. The nearly week-long excursion is part of the Celebrity Tournament Series and the larger Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series, which includes approximately 30 fishing events each year.
Proceeds from the event - and from all events in the Series - benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Six boats caught and released a total of 21 sailfish and four rooster fish in the 2005 event, and Floridian Jim Melnick left as the event's hero, winning multiple titles. Melnick was named grand champion angler and also won the prize for catching and releasing the most billfish. Melnick also teamed with his brother, Bruce, to claim the title of first runner-up team champion.
Entrants in the Crocodile Bay Osa Classic will be paired with celebrities or other entrants, and all teams will be assigned a professional guide for the duration of the tournament. Contestants will catch, photograph and release as many fish as possible, and a point system awards weighted values for each fish caught. Entrants will participate in a competition that includes accommodations at a top-shelf resort, a gala auction, tournament fishing with a celebrity, gourmet meals and opulent prizes.
The Crocodile Bay Osa Classic has grown from the seed planted in 1988, when a handful of anglers, fishing guides and sports celebrities organized a tournament in the Florida Keys village of Islamorada. The group focused on just two of the available species: redfish and bonefish. The ground rules were simple - to win, the angler must catch and release at least one of each.
The initial tournament was designed to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and in 17 years Redbone tournaments have contributed approximately $8 million to the CFF. The inaugural Islamorada event was a great success, and the "redbone" moniker was born. The current format of the individual tournaments can include freshwater, offshore and flats fishing.
The ultimate goal of the CFF is to cure the fatal hereditary affliction, and Redbone founder Ellis and his wife, Susan, have passionately supported the cause not only because of the foundation's noble research efforts, but also for a very personal reason: their daughter, Nicole, was diagnosed with CF as an infant in the mid-1980s. Nicole is now a college student, and has witnessed first hand the advances made in the treatment of the disease.
The environments in which the Redbone events take place have played a major role in their success. The Florida Keys, for instance, contain miles of clear flats with acres of turtle grass and marl, features that create a welcoming habitat and a diverse fishery that includes bonefish, tarpon, permit, redfish and snook. Tournaments are also held in such diverse locations as Massachusetts, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Costa Rica, Pennsylvania, Ohio, the Bahamas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Louisiana.
Mercury Marine, the official outboard engine of the Redbone events, began its support of the Series in 1992, and the collection of events has drawn the attention and support of big-name celebrities such as the late baseball great Ted Williams, baseball stars Mike Schmidt and Wade Boggs, football legend Ken Stabler and the late broadcasting icon Curt Gowdy.
For more information on the Crocodile Bay Osa Classic and/or the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series, visit on-line at www.redbone.org or call 305-
664-2002 or 1-877-FISH-CF. The CF Foundation's web site is www.cff.org.
WHAT: Crocodile Bay Osa Classic
WHEN: April 2-8, 2006
WHERE: Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica