For 40 years, an elite group of first-rate fly fishermen including some celebrities has congregated at the Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Bonefish Tournament, set for Tuesday through Friday, Sept. 9-12. Locally referred to as the "Fall Fly," the annual endeavor is a test of stealth for up to 25 angler-and-guide teams.
The challenge has drawn anglers from around the U.S. and Europe. Notable participants over the years have included Flip Pallot, brothers Sandy and Randy Moret, the late Billy Pate and acclaimed author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen, who has been named tournament grand champion multiple times.
The winner's name will join the roster of top anglers as well as those of grand champion guides such as Bill Knowles, Steve Huff, Tim Klein and the late George Hommell, founder of Islamorada's World Wide Sportsman, on the perpetual trophy prominently displayed at the flyfishing retailer, Florida Keys Outfitters, mile marker 81.2 oceanside.
The 2014 Fall Fly kicks off with a 6 p.m. welcome reception and captains meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9, at the Islamorada Fishing Club next to the Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar at mile marker 82 bayside.
Three days of fly-fishing for bonefish follow. Anglers must earn points for both weight and release fish to qualify for the win.
Each day starts at the Lorelei, where anglers enjoy breakfast before fishing and check in after competition.
All bonefish catches are to be photographed and then released alive.
Entry fee is $1,000 per angler, which includes fishing, admission to social and cocktail party functions and awards. Original artwork valued at $5,000 is to be awarded the top anglers.
For tournament information, contact Paul Nute at 917-412-0136 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Islamorada visitor information, visit www.fla-keys.com/islamorada or www.fla-keys.com/fishing or call 800-FAB-KEYS.