ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys– Jim Bokor Jr., of Williamsville, New York, captured grand champion honors at the eighth annual Cheeca Lodge All-American Backcountry tournament that ended Nov. 14.
Guided by Islamorada’s Captain Richard Black, Bokor released one permit and six bonefish on bait; seven tarpon, nine snook and four redfish on artificial; and one snook and six redfish on fly. He caught and released the tournament’s only permit just 15 minutes before lines out on the last day of fishing.
Bokor earned bonus points for catching all five species and released a total of 21 fish on artificial, garnering both the grand champion and artificial division champion titles.
The Grand Champion Team award went to U.S. Marine Corps veterans Sgt. Hector Aleman and Col. Pablo Atzolaof Miami, Florida. The duo released 20 snook, five redfish and three tarpon.
New York City resident John Kukral released 26 fish on flyto earn that division’s champion trophy. He fished with Captain Luis Cortez.
The 17-angler field’s gamefish totals over two days included 109 snook, 63 redfish, 50 tarpon, 10 bonefish and one permit for an impressive total of 232 releases, according to tournament organizers.
Proceeds benefit the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education and advocacy.