ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Wade Davis from Pompano Beach, Fla., placed first among anglers who celebrated Veteran’s Day weekend at the Cheeca Lodge All-American Backcountry Tournament that ended Nov 11.
Davis, guided by Captain Richard Black, released two tarpon, 10 snook and 10 redfish for the premiere event’s overall win.
Grand Champion Team trophies went to Jeff Harkavy from Coral Springs, Fla., with seven snook and 10 redfish, and Steve Stanley from St. Petersburg, Fla., who released 10 snook and 10 redfish.
Fellow veteran soldiers Capt. Blake Smith USMC (Ret.) of San Diego and Gunnery Sgt. Brian Meyer of Oceanside, Calif., in their first-ever tournament, posted an impressive runner-up team performance with two tarpon, five snook and 10 redfish.
They fished with guide Captain Mike Makowski, who with Smith earned a first-place trophy in the bait division.
Smith also garnered an outstanding catch award for another of his firsts — a backcountry slam — releasing a tarpon, redfish and snook on the same day.
Tournament director Julie Olsen reported that 22 anglers aboard 16 boats competed, traveling from as far away as Sussex, England.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, an organization of concerned anglers and guides dedicated to conserving and enhancing global bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and their environments through stewardship, research, education and advocacy.
Next year’s Cheeca Lodge All-American Backcountry tournament is set for Nov. 8-11, 2013.