Take Stock in Children Backcountry Tournament Continues Fundraising Tradition Sept. 22-24

KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Anglers of all ages can join the Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge, an Upper Keys event that has combined community and families with fishing and fundraising for 23 years. Presented by the Rotary Club of Key Largo, the 2023 tournament is set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 22-24.

The catch-and-release challenge targets shallow-water trout, redfish and snook. Its mission is to raise money for scholarships to be awarded to Florida Keys students as part of the statewide Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program. A silent auction and raffle ticket sales are integral, excitement-filled parts of the family fun event. 

A public kick-off party for anglers and supporters is scheduled Friday, Sept. 22, at Doc’s Diner, mile marker 99.7 bayside in Key Largo. The event features bar drinks and appetizers starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by a captains and anglers meeting at 6:15 p.m. 

As soon as kick-off festivities end Friday night, the fishing is to begin and continue through 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. Sunday evening, an awards dinner and live and silent auctions are planned for 6 p.m. at the Tavernier Elks Lodge, mile marker 92.6 oceanside. 

Awards are to be presented for overall adult and junior backcountry champions, junior and kids divisions and top professional guide, as well as for the largest total combined species and largest fish of each species.

Entry fees on or before Sept. 21 are $150 per adult angler (age 18 and above), $75 per junior angler (ages 13-17) and $30 for kids ages 12 and under. Fees include social events. Nonanglers who want to attend Friday and Sunday social events can purchase tickets for $25 and $50, respectively. After Sept. 21, fees increase by $25 for anglers and $10 per night for social events. 

This year’s event is limited to 70 anglers, so organizers encourage early registration. 

Proceeds help fund scholarships for college-bound Upper Keys students and adult vocational residents. Students  from 7th to 12th grades pair with a mentor to qualify. The state of Florida matches funds raised to provide the scholarships.

Event information and registration: keylargorotary.org

Angler Tom Rodriguez took the largest snook award with a 37.5" fish at the 2022 Take Stock in Children Backcountry Tournament

Angler Tom Rodriguez took the largest snook award with a 37.5" fish at the 2022 Take Stock in Children Backcountry Tournament

This article was updated on August 7, 2023 at 3:45 PM