This weekend marked the second consecutive year that I have fished in the Casting for Cats charity backcountry tournament here in Islamorada. The tournament benefits the large feral cat population we have here in the Upper Florida Keys. The tournament raises money to help catch spay and neuter these wild cats and every year has a large turnout. This year I believe their were in the range of 60 to 70 boats. Species included are Tarpon, Permit, Bonefish, Snook, and Redfish as well as minimal points going toward Jacks, Ladyfish, Sharks, and Trout. Our strategy was to focus on the highest point species, Permit, Tarpon, and Bonefish. On tournament day of course it was 100 percent cloud cover, winds in excess of 20 kts and thunderstorms. My Angler and friend Ashley wasn't going to let that deter us. We stuck to our guns and within the first hour had hooked and jumped 5 Tarpon. Unfortunately she only landed 1, but our spirits were high and we moved on to the next spot. We trolling motored around the flat looking for fish, but the thickest gnarliest clouds moved in and it started raining. So sight fishing was just taken out of the equation. On to the next. So after taking a bit of a break avoiding the massive storm we evaluate the weather and tides and make way to our final destination. Knowing that it should hold a school of Bonefish I had previously located. Their we proceeded to hook 7 bonefish and landing 4. One fish was short of the 20 in minimum length requirement. So we ended up back at the Lor-e-lei bar for a drink and to turn our score sheets in. We were in the lead!!! Later that night at the awards ceremony we anxiously awaited the announcements. We had a wonderful dinner of Prime Rib, BBQ Chicken, and Fish and all the side dishes you could want. Perused all the wonderful silent auction items and made a few bids. Time came for the awards ceremony part of the evening to begin. They called Ashley's name and she won the Award for Largest Bonefish. She received a beautiful painting of a Bonefish to go along with the Largest Permit award that she won the previous year. I am very proud of Ashley for sticking it out through absolutely horrendous weather and coming up with a W!
Check back frequently for new inshore Islamorada fishing reports!