Bucket List Weekend to Meet Legendary Backcountry Guides and Chase a $10,000 Prize and Trophies During the Inaugural Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival in Islamorada
Non-Profit June Event Presented by Nova Southeastern University and Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts to Fund Marine Science Student Scholarships
By John Bell
ISLAMORADA, FL—FEBRUARY 3, 2016— The tranquil Florida Bay, known to anglers as “the backcountry”, is an environmentally-sensitive estuary, home to hundreds of species of marine life, including top gamefish– bonefish, redfish, snook, permit, sea trout and the mighty silver king tarpon.
Chasing these backcountry trophies strung along the six islands that comprise Islamorada are thousands of anglers on flat and bay boats often accompanied by the world’s largest collection of tournament grade captains and guides.
“It’s truly the best place in the world to host an inshore fishing tournament,” said Captain Cliff Jensen, Director of Sport Fishing and Watersports for the Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, which is managing the Father’s Day Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival scheduled for June 16-19 2016. “Islamorada is where backcountry sport fishing and saltwater fly fishing were pioneered.”
Angler House Marina will be the venue for inshore boats to launch as well as fishing seminar for backcountry tournament anglers. Home to over 30 backcountry captains, the Angler House Marina includes some of the top fly fishing guides in the country.
The Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, named for Nova Southeastern University’s mascot—the mako shark— has designated a $2,500 entry fee (three anglers) for inshore competition.
“We are anticipating heavy registration for the inshore backcountry group due to Islamorada’s well-earned “Fishing Capital of the World” recognition and a chance to literally learn tips and techniques from some of the top tournament guides at planned seminar sessions,” said Jensen.
Whether fishing offshore or backcountry, teams are eligible for the $10,000 first prize and the perpetual Blazing Mako trophy, not to mention bragging rights as a top tournament angler. Jensen said tournament scoring will be based on a point system.
“With all of the great backcountry guides in the Florida Keys, this is a great opportunity to charter a captain and greatly increase the odds to be in the running for the top prize,” Jensen added.
These specially skilled guides employ techniques learned from some of the area’s fishing legends such as Ted Williams, Jimmy Albright, Cecil Keith and Stu Apte.
Situated between the saltwater wilderness of Everglades National Park and Florida Strait, the backcountry and bays continue to provide great fishing on light tackle, many anglers stalking the prized tarpon, whose season runs from April through July.
Jensen said corporate team registration is also underway for the tournament’s offshore division. The fee is $5,000 per team (six anglers).
To register for the inshore/offshore division go to http://www.guyharveyoutpost.com/blazing-mako/fishing.html.
Available to fishing teams and local guides will be free downloads of the iGHOFish app powered by iAngler, which will collect valuable information for fisheries management.
One of the Tournament and Festival highlights will be the lighting of a steel framed sculpture of a mako shark. The Blazing Mako, which is being created by local Islamorada artist Pasta Pantaleo, is a signature of tournaments managed by Guy Harvey Resort Outposts, which has created a series of bonfire tournament events in the Bahamas over the past several years. The bonfire sculptures themselves have a conservation theme as artists have used recycled materials to create them.
In addition to the not-for-profit fishing tournament, expansive plans also are underway for innovative art exhibits, live music, conservation organization displays and local vendors, all showcased in a 100-tent “Conservation Village” to be located a host property, The Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort. Also planned are a series of watersport competitions, a Kids Pier Fishing Tournament, fishing seminars and a Rum Village.
Community engagement is at the heart of the weekend’s activities. The event will also aid in raising funds for marine sciences scholarships at the NSU’ Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, which is home to the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center. A goal of $100,000 in scholarships has been targeted. The scholarships will be donated through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF).
For more information on the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival please visit www.blazingmako.com
About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic research institution dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. A private, not-for-profit institution with more than 24,000 students, NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. For more than 50 years, NSU has been awarding degrees in a wide range of fields, while fostering groundbreaking research and an impactful commitment to community. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is 1 of only 37 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. Please visit www.nova.edu for more information.
About NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography: The college provides high-quality undergraduate and graduate (master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates) education programs in a broad range of disciplines, including marine sciences, mathematics, biophysics, and chemistry. Researchers carry out innovative basic and applied marine research programs in coral reef biology, ecology, and geology; fish biology, ecology, and conservation; shark and billfish ecology; fisheries science; deep-sea organismal biology and ecology; invertebrate and vertebrate genomics, genetics, molecular ecology, and evolution; microbiology; biodiversity; observation and modeling of large-scale ocean circulation, coastal dynamics, and ocean atmosphere coupling; benthic habitat mapping; biodiversity; histology; and calcification. The college’s newest building is the state-of-the-art Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, an 86,000-square-foot structure filled with laboratories; offices; seminar rooms; an auditorium; and indoor and outdoor running sea water facilities. Please visit cnso.nova.edu for more information.
About Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts: Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts is based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The company’s Signature Collection properties operate under the Guy Harvey Outpost brand name, with resorts currently in Florida’s popular destinations of St. Pete Beach and Islamorada. The newest Guy Harvey Outpost Resort will open on St. Augustine Beach in spring, 2016. Members of the company’s Expedition Portfolio are independently operated and managed boutique sized hotels and lodges in remote destinations that offer superior service and amenities. Member hotels enjoy access to Outpost marketing and its reservation system and on-line booking engine. Expedition Properties include three in the Bahamas: Old Bahama Bay Resort & Yacht Harbour at West End and the Green Turtle Club and Blackfly Bonefish Lodge, both in the Abaco Islands, Hotel Playa Media Luna in Isla Mujeres, Mexico, Southern Cross Club on Little Cayman Island and Ft. George Hotel in Dominica. Through the company’s GHOFish program, Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts promotes scientific angling expeditions, tournaments and charters. Expedition Outfitters an invitation-only collection of top-of-class dive shops and guided or charter boat fishing outfitters. Please visit www.guyharveyoutpost.com for more information.