ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — A one-of-a-kind event whose anglers fan out to explore the Florida Keys backcountry’s labyrinth of canals, water trails and mangrove mazes in search of seven species, the Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Fishing Championship returns to Islamorada Friday through Sunday, Sept. 21-23.
Anglers of all skill levels are to join the tournament, which is steeped in tradition, and are certain to be tested as they enjoy the beauty of the Everglades. Lucerne was affectionately known as “Mr. Everglades” for his decades of experience in the region.
The tournament distinguishes the overall grand champion as an individual angler who catches at least four of the seven eligible species: black drum, bonefish, redfish, snook, snapper, tarpon and sea trout.
Kickoff, registration and a meeting for anglers and guides are to start at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, at tournament headquarters inside the Islander Resort conference center, mile marker (MM) 82.1.
Friday evening’s highlight is an extensive silent auction that supports the most important element of the tournament’s mission — raising funds to protect and preserve Florida Bay and Everglades National Park.
The public is invited to join Friday’s auction fun, mingle with participating anglers and guides, and indulge in a two-hour open bar and variety of food from Florida Keys chef Andy Niedenthal. Cost is $75 per person.
Saturday and Sunday are fishing days from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and anglers must check in at either the Lorelei Resort & Marina at MM 82 or Don’s Bait & Tackle in Homestead, Fla.
Appetizers and cocktails are to be served Sunday evening at the Islander Resort starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by a buffet dinner and angler awards. Awards are to be given in 22 categories, including general, artificial and fly division champion, overall grand champion angler, team champion, top male, female and junior angler, and largest species winner.