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$50K National Billfish Championship set for March 5-8 in the Florida Keys

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Two-time Super Bowl–winning coach Jimmy Johnson combines two of his favorite sports, football and fishing, during his namesake "Quest for the Ring" National Billfish Championship set for March 5-8 in the Florida Keys.

The team event, whose parties typically are as lively as the fishing action, attracts notable NFL players and celebrities along with some of the sport's toughest competitors to target sailfish and other billfish species.

"This event has become the Super Bowl of billfish tournaments," said Johnson, who makes his home in Islamorada in the Keys and is an analyst on "Fox NFL Sunday." "The on-water action and post-angling social activities each evening are top-flight.

"The tournament has become a must-do for competitive blue-water anglers," he said.

A captains and rules meeting is planned for Wednesday, March 5, at the Big Chill bar, restaurant and cabana complex at mile marker 104 bayside in Key Largo. The venue is to serve as tournament headquarters. Late registration is to be held 4-7 p.m., followed by an "o-fish-al kick-off party" with live music, food and drinks.

Thursday, participants can enjoy a pre-fishing day with a celebrity from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by a post-fishing party and charity auction.

Tournament fishing is scheduled Friday and Saturday, March 7-8. A cocktail hour, dinner and awards ceremony, followed by an after-party, concludes the event Saturday.

Trophies and cash prizes of $50,000, $18,000 and $12,500 await the first- through third-place boat teams. All anglers on the winning boat receive authentic, custom-designed "Jimmy Johnson's NBC Championship" rings.

A number of other prize categories offer additional opportunities for winning cash. Prizes are based on a minimum field of 50 boats.

Registration is $4,500 and includes admission to all social events and a gift bag with apparel, fishing merchandise and more. There is no limit on the number of anglers per boat.

Anglers who want to participate in the event, but do not own a boat or prefer to travel to the tournament without one, can book a professional charterboat operator in the Upper Keys.

The prestigious event benefits the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, a South Florida– based cancer-related research, diagnosis and treatment facility.

Tournament info: www.bluewatermovements.com/jimmy_johnsons_national_billfish_championship/
Key Largo visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
Florida Keys fishing information: www.fla-keys.com/fishing

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