KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Organizers of the Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week, scheduled March 2-9, are offering what is believed to be the largest guaranteed purse winnings in Florida tournament history — $1.75 million.
Notable National Football League players and celebrities are expected to join two-time Super Bowl–winning coach Jimmy Johnson during his namesake Florida Keys event.
The two-day “Quest for the Ring” National Billfish Championship represents the signature tournament set to award the whopping guaranteed purse. Some of the sport’s toughest billfish competitors are attracted to the team event that targets sailfish and other billfish species along with fun-fish species. The championship tournament features both a catch-and-release division and weighted division.
The Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill bar, restaurant and cabana complex at mile marker 104 bayside in Key Largo serves as tournament headquarters, with action-packed parties between world-class fishing forays.
Johnson’s friends, celebrity athletes and entertainers are to join the pros for a fun-filled day of competitive fishing in support of their favorite charities in the Celebrity Pro Am event Thursday, March 7. At day’s end, award celebrations are to be held at Ocean Reef Club.
In the main event, the two-day Billfish Championship scheduled Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, boat teams compete for the guaranteed overall $1.75 million purse.
The total general-entry payout to winning teams in the catch-and-release division is $465,000. A second, weighted division (heaviest fish overall) is to pay out $250,000 over first- through fourth-place teams.
The Billfish Championship’s first-place team is to receive $200,000 and all anglers on the winning boat receive authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings. Second- through eighth-place teams also are awarded cash prizes, among several other angler categories.
A charity auction, dinner and all-tournament award ceremony with Jimmy's Backyard BBQ at the Big Chill concludes the event Saturday night for participants.
Boat entry information and the full schedule of events can be found at jjfishweek.com. Anglers who want to participate in the event but do not own a boat, or prefer to travel to the tournament without one, can book a professional charterboat operator in the Upper Keys.
The prestigious weekend of fishing events supports the Community Initiatives Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to supporting various fundraising programs throughout South Florida that include Tranquil Shores Foundation.
Tournament information and registration: jjfishweek.com
Key Largo visitor information: fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing
The Billfish Championship’s first-place team is to receive $200,000 and all anglers on the winning boat receive authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings.