Redbone Fishing Tournaments

26 Apr
 Welcome to the Boat and Yacht Report’s dedicated Redbone Fishing Tournament page. Some might say, what is so special about a fishing tournament that warrants its own coverage? Well, if you haven’t heard of this organization before, we’re going to try and help spread the word.

What makes Redbone so special is its selfless and tireless work in raising money “To Catch The Cure” for cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease affecting some 30,000 children and adults here in the U.S.

Since its inception in 1988, the Redbone has brought together a unique group of sportsman and women who respect the outdoors and relish every opportunity to connect with it. Athletes and anglers, guides and celebrities, all come to fish. And by fishing, they contribute much more than their time as this non-profit (501c) company has this dreaded disease up on its radar screen with all intentions of helping to get rid of it.

Redbone offers a series of fishing tournaments throughout the year. The trilogy of Florida Keys Tournaments includes Redbone in November, and the Robert-James Sales SLAM and Baybone in September. In addition they offer many Redbone at Large tournaments throughout the United States and the Bahamas. We’ll be updating the schedule of tournaments and events on a regular basis. Or you can visit the Redbone homepage at

Redbone also has a quarterly journal called the Redbone Journal, focusing on the wonders of the natural environment with special attention paid to issues that may benefit or detract from preserving the delicate balance of wind, water, tide, and living things. In addition, the organization maintains a stimulating and relevant art gallery with works of art revolving around saltwater fishing. The Redbone Saltwater Art Gallery has become Florida’s largest saltwater fishing art gallery and is located in Islamorada, Florida. Many of the artists works can also be viewed online as well.

So we hope you will become a regular visitor here and in doing so, will join with Redbone in its dedicated work to help so many afflicted with CF. If you have any questions, or wish to get involved, please get in contact with them at You can also contact Pete Johnson, PR counsel for The Redbone at Johnson Communications, Inc., Scottsdale, AZ 85254. Ph: 480-951-3654.  E-mail:

See you out on the water!


                                                                         Susie, Gary, and Nicole Ellis

Typically, an organization reveals the nature of its content and its objective by the wording of its name. Redbone is a catchy word, but it needs an explanation. So, what is a Redbone? A legendary blues musician? A hardworking hound dog? Try again. An embarrassed bonefish? Well…

In 1984, Gary and Susan Ellis’ newborn daughter, Nicole, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. They were told with considerable care, she should live to her early teens. After asking the question “What is cystic fibrosis,” they set out to find a way to fight it. In 1988 with the help of their friends, including legendary Boston Red Sox baseball player Ted Williams, they founded the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series to help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fund the research to cure CF. Guides, anglers, and celebrities from film and sports teamed up on thirty-three boats to fish for redfish and bonefish. From that tournament came the name “Redbone.” They raised $16,000 that first year and more importantly, introduced CF into the conscience of the very caring community of Islamorada in the Florida Keys. From that small seed, the Redbone has mushroomed into 25 tournaments spanning both coasts of the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, and an art gallery specializing in angler art. In the last 21 years, the Redbone has made a total contribution to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of over 10 million dollars. In 2009 Redbone fishing tournaments, including our cooperative efforts with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, netted over $1.5 million “to catch the cure.”

When the Redbone was first established, children with CF rarely lived to attend high school. Today the median age of survival for a person with CF is 35 years. We should not celebrate this achievement, since a single life is yet to be saved from this devastating disease, but it has become a sign of hope for a brighter tomorrow for individuals with the disease and their families.

Money buys science, and science does save lives. That’s why events such as the Mercury Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series, the Redbone@Large, and the Red-Trout Series are important. Through your support, you are insuring that aggressive, innovative research in CF will constantly be explored. By helping us support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, you are helping to build a bridge of hope that will eventually lead to the ultimate victory: a cure for cystic fibrosis.

  Awesome weekend: 2011 Redbone @ Large

La Siesta Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tourney

ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys, — “It was an awesome weekend,” said astronaut Bruce Melnick sporting a huge smile. The two-time space shuttle astronaut, one of the celebrities among the  20 anglers, had just hours before caught and released a 170 lb. tarpon in the La Siesta Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tournament, a Redbone@Large series event April 15 – 17 for the cystic fibrosis research.    

Melnick not only caught his largest tarpon ever (see photo below)–some 50 smaller ones preceded it over his years of fishing–he exclaimed, “The last morning, while motoring out at day break in Capt Matt Bellinger’s skiff, we were treated to a great surprise of watching the space station fly overhead for several minutes, followed by my 170 plus pound tarpon, and then a breath-taking sunrise. 

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” he beamed enthusiastically.

Gary Hall, of Niagara Falls, N.Y. would second that. Guided by Capt. Jim Dalrymple, he was the grand champion angler in his first-ever tarpon tournament, catching and releasing three silver kings.

“They were everywhere,” said Hall. “I caught two in the evening period and my last one on Sunday morning before having to leave early for a Miami meeting. It wasn’t until later that I found out I had won.”

The two grand champion anglers and their two captains were each awarded paintings from the Redbone Gallery from the works of artist Pasta Pantaleo.

The La Siesta Resort and Marina in the heart of Islamorada at MM 80.5 with its cottages, villas and suites served as the headquarters and hosting sponsor for the second year. Anglers fished beginning at dawn from 6-10:30 a.m., on Saturday and Sunday with a middle Saturday session at dusk, from 4-8 p.m., featuring what Melnick called a beautiful sunset and a near moon rise. The tournament closed with a Sunday noon awards luncheon.  

In the team division, Dr. Robert Cullen, a long time supporter of the Redbone tournaments along with one of his sons, Michael, won by catching two tarpon each, while fishing with Capt. Kenny Knudsen. Cullen, the Head of Pediatric Neurology at Miami Children’s Hospital, made a family affair out of the event as three out of his four sons fished the tournament. Hall and Dale Lusk were the runner-up team. Dr. Cullen also won runner-up angler based on time.

The Big Man Plays at Redbone

Under the near full moon, celebrity musician Clarence Clemons, the “Big Man” of Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band, wailed the night away on his saxophone with the local Marlin Too Revue after the event’s kickoff dinner and silent auction. For tournament information on this and nearly 30 other tournaments across the country and the Bahamas go to the Redbone website at, or phone Redbone executive director Susan Ellis at 305-664-2002 or via

Results:  2011  REDBONE @ LARGE

La Siesta Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Tournament

Islamorada, Fl. – April 15 – 17 – Target species: Tarpon

20 anglers; 20 total tarpon caught and released

Trophy artwork provided to the Redbone Gallery by artists Pasta Pantaleo, Jeanine Bean, Stephen Whitlock and John Rice.

FORMAT: ALL RELEASE- All tarpon had to be 48 inches in overall length to qualify as a legal release among three tackle divisions of bait, artificial and fly

GRAND CHAMPION ANGLER:  Gary Hall, Niagara Falls, N.Y.


CELEBRITY GRAND CHAMPION ANGLER:  Astronaut Bruce Melnick, Inglis, Fla.,


LADY GRAND CHAMPION: Brooke Denkert, Islamorada, Fla., 


TEAM GRAND CHAMPIONS: Dr. Robert Cullen and Michael Cullen, Coral Gables, Fla. 


RUNNER-UP TEAM GRAND CHAMPION ANGLERS: Gary Hall and David Lusk, Ann Arbor, Mich.




Comments Off on Redbone Fishing Tournaments

Posted by on April 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: