Fishing action and more on tap for June 17-19 premier Keys event
ISLAMORADA in the Fla. Keys – Offshore and back-country guides agree, the fishing on both sides of Islamorada could be an optimum experience for the up to 30 teams of fishermen in the inaugural Blazing Mako Bonfire Series Tournament & Festival, June 17 – 19.
The celebratory Father’s Day weekend event is being held at the historic Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada, MM 82.1 Oceanside. The Blazing Mako Tournament, named for Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) mascot — the mako shark — will include offshore and inshore divisions of up to 15 teams in each.
“Back-country fishing for bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, and redfish can be great in June,” said Capt. Richard Black of Black Fly Charters. “The weather is constant; water temperatures are constant; making fish feeding patterns constant. With the right game plan and some luck, teams could put together some exceptional catches.
Light tackle anglers aren’t the only ones favored with a great bite. IGFA Legendary South Florida Capt. Bouncer Smith who works the deeper waters of the Atlantic acquiesced saying, “June is an awesome month for offshore fishing. Mahi of all sizes are abundant and the possibility of blue marlin makes the game even more suspenseful.”
“There are several openings for teams in both divisions,” said Cliff Jensen, Director, Sport Fishing & Watersports for Guy Harvey Outpost. ”Offshore team registration for the non-profit tournament is $5,000 per team of six anglers. Inshore it’s $2,500 for three anglers. The highest scorers among the teams will have a chance to win $10,000. To register go to guyharveyoutpost.com/blazing-
The Bonfire Series began in the Bahamas by world-renowned conservationist and artist Dr. Guy Harvey. The Blazing Mako has a targeted goal of raising $100,000 through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation for marine science scholarships at NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography which houses the Guy Harvey Research Institute.
Friday seminar of fishing pros kicks off Blazing Mako festival weekend
Smith and Black along with a half dozen fishing experts will kick off the opening evening of Friday, June 17, for the “Papas Pilar Fishing Seminar.” They include fellow captains Abie Raymond, Steve Thomas, Matt Bellinger, Randy Towe and IGFA Hall of Fame Angler Stu Apte. Entry is free to tournament participants but it is open to the public with a $20 donation. There will be complimentary Papas Pilar Rum sampling along with Saltwater Brewery beer for the event.
The Everglades Foundation’s Stephen Davis will also talk about the status of the Everglades.
Blazing Mako bonfire, free 75 tent Artist/Conch-servation Village, music and more
Besides the seminar and concurrent offshore and inshore tournaments the festival will include: a “Conch-servation Village” of innovative art exhibits, conservation organization displays, Rum Village of over a dozen tastings, silent auction, retailers, Kid’s Pier Fishing Tournament, Paddleboard Poker Run and other interactive marine conservation activities.
Eight bands including the Shane Duncan Band and Rock ‘N Roll magician Michael Trixx, will provide live entertainment both days.
On Saturday evening renowned Keys marine artist Roberto “Pasta” Pantaleo’s massive mako shark, sculpted with welded recycled metal, will be stuffed with flammable materials and torched in the themed beachfront bonfire celebration.
Guy Harvey Outpost provides on-the-water resort destinations and expeditions that are expanding across Florida, the Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Panama and beyond. Visit guyharveyoutpost.com for more.