KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — For 20 years the Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge has succeeded in combining community and families with fishing and fundraising. Presented by the Rotary Club of Key Largo, the 2019 tournament is to test anglers of all ages Friday through Sunday, Sept. 27-29.
The popular annual tournament raises monies from tournament entries as well as silent auction and raffle ticket sales, integral parts of the family fun event, for scholarships awarded to Florida Keys students as part of the statewide Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program.
A public kick-off party for anglers and supporters is scheduled Friday, Sept. 27, at Doc’s Diner, mile marker 99.7 in Key Largo. The event features bar drinks and appetizers starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by a captains and anglers meeting.
Anglers can hit the shallows to fish for trout, redfish and snook as soon as kick-off festivities end, continuing through 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29. An awards dinner and live and silent auctions are to follow at 6 p.m. at the tournament’s headquarters, the Tavernier Elks Club located at mile marker 92.6.
Trophies are to be awarded for overall adult and junior backcountry champions, junior and kids divisions and top professional guide, and for the largest total combined species and largest fish of each species.
Entry fees on or before Sept. 26 are $135 per adult angler, $60 per junior angler and $30 for kids ages 12 and under. Fees include social events. Non-anglers wanting to join the Friday and Sunday social events can purchase tickets for $20 and $45, respectively. Children’s tickets are $10.
Proceeds help fund scholarships for college-bound Upper Keys students and adult vocational residents. Students pair with a mentor between seventh and 12th grades to qualify. The state of Florida matches funds raised to provide the scholarships.
Event information and registration: keylargorotary.org
Key Largo visitor information: fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing