Since 1975, the names of the anglers who have won the prestigious Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Bonefish Tournament have made up a virtual who’s who in saltwater fly-fishing. The 35th annual event is set for September 13-16 for those fly-fishermen who would like to join that coveted list.
The “Fall Fly,” as it’s called in elite circles, is a test of skill and stealth for up to 25 competitors. It has attracted seasoned anglers like Flip Pallot, brothers Sandy Moret and Randy Moret, Billy Pate and acclaimed “Striptease” author and Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen, a seven-time tournament grand champion.
In 2010, tournament newcomer Paul Nute took top honors, besting anglers from around the U.S. and as far away as London, England.
The winners’ names, as well as those of the grand champion guides such as Bill Knowles, Steve Huff, Tim Klein and George Hommell, founder of Islamorada’s World Wide Sportsman, reside on the perpetual trophy prominently displayed at Florida Keys Outfitters. The 2011 winner will see his name added to the exclusive roster.
The 2011 Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Tournament kicks off with a 6 p.m. welcome reception and captains meeting Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Islamorada Fishing Club next to the Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar at mile marker 82 bayside.
Three days of fly-fishing for bonefish follow. Each day starts at the Lorelei, where anglers enjoy breakfast before fishing, and check in after each day of competition.
Points are awarded for both weight and release fish. All bonefish to be weighed must be brought to the Islamorada Fishing Club and then released alive.
Entry fee is $1,000 per angler, which includes fishing, social and cocktail party functions, and awards. Original artwork valued at $5,000 will be awarded to top anglers.