By John Bell

Auction Announced for Teams Looking to Add Florida Keys Backcounty Fly Fishing Legend Stu Apte for the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival

$10,000 Grand Prize at Stake

Stu Apte With Tarpon

Stu Apte With Tarpon

ISLAMORADA, FL—MARCH 1, 2016— For backcountry anglers looking to improve their odds to win cash, trophies and bragging rights for the upcoming Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival in Islamorada, there’s a unique opportunity to add one of the country’s top fly fishermen to their team as an angler.

Stu Apte, holder of more than 44 saltwater light tackle and fly rod world records and a recipient of the prestigious Ted Williams Award, has graciously agreed to be auctioned to the highest bidding team.  Money raised from the auction will be added to the non-profit tournament’s goal to raise $100,000 for marine sciences scholarships for Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) NSU’s Halmos College of National Sciences and Oceanography. The scholarship funds will be donated through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF).

Teams looking to bid on Stu Apte as a guide for the tournament’s inshore anglers competition can go to

Flying F9F Panther Jets as a Navy pilot during the Korean War, Apte was already an avid fly fisherman.  Post war his day job was piloting commercial flights for Pan-Am, but his spare time was building a reputation as a top guide in the Florida Keys.  His career as a top-notch angler blossomed, as his Stu Apte Tarpon Fly and Stu Apte Improved Blood Knot became fly fishing standards.  In 1969, Apte was inducted into the Fishing Hall of Fame and the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) in 2005, where he had the distinction of joining Ted Williams, Curt Gowdy, Ernest Hemingway, Izaak Walton and Zane Grey to name a few.

“Stu Apte has been guiding in these Florida Keys flats for 60 plus years—and adding him to any team certainly is a major plus,” said Captain Cliff Jensen, Director of Sport Fishing and Watersports for Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts which is managing the Father’s Day Weekend Blazing Mako & Festival scheduled for June 16-19.

This World Record Tarpon picture is in the Ted Williams Stu Apte trophy room at the Guy Harvey, Islander resort.

This World Record Tarpon picture is in the Ted Williams Stu Apte trophy room at the Guy Harvey, Islander resort.

Jensen said Apte will also join with other top local guides to lead a seminar series at Angler House Marina, which will be the venue for inshore boats to launch.

The Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, named for NSU’s mascot—the mako shark—had designated a $2,500 entry fee (three anglers) for inshore competition.  The Offshore division entry fee is $5,000 per team (six anglers). To register for the inshore/offshore division go to

The tournament date of June 18 falls squarely during the peak of the inshore fishing season in and around the Florida Keys and two days before the full moon. Catching, measuring, photographing and releasing the eligible back country species of permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook, redfish for points, cash, and bragging rights won’t be as challenging as during other seasons of the year.

Anglers will be allowed to enter a maximum of five fish in each category using live bait, artificial lures, or fly tackle. More points will be awarded for lures and fly rod. 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.

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 “Conchservation Village” to be located at the host property, The Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort. Also planned are a series of watersport competitions, (including a paddleboard competition), a Kids Pier Fishing Tournament, fishing seminars and a Rum Village.

As part of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts’ signature Bonfire Series fishing tournaments, a fish-themed sculpture is created by a local artist.  The artist incorporates a conservation message with a “trash-to-treasure” concept, incorporating recycled material into a sculpture to be set ablaze.

Stu and his friend Bob Whitaker, Outdoor Editor of the Arizona Republic Newspaper, with Stu's World Record permit on 6 pound spin.

Stu and his friend Bob Whitaker, Outdoor Editor of the Arizona Republic Newspaper, with Stu’s World Record permit on 6 pound spin.

In the case of the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival the sculpture will be a mako shark in the image of the NSU mascot. Local artist Pasta Pantaleo will incorporate steel with reclaimed parts to fashion together the mako cage with exposed beams.  The cage will then be filled with non-toxic flammable materials to create the tournament’s signature bonfire.


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 26,000 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 for more information about NSU and for more information on the largest fundraising campaign in NSU history.

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 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 for more information.

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