The 2009 Hooked on Hope Fishing Tournament, benefiting the fight against Breast Cancer and the USF Morsani Center Breast Health Initiative, proved that not only is hope alive and well, it is thriving among Tampa Bay anglers and supporters. Captain Lori Deaton, tournament director and founder of Hooked On Hope, along with her team of organizers and sponsors, combined fishing, fun and food into an incredible event.
150 anglers and their families were provided with the perfect lush tropical backdrop at The Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort on Pinellas Point in St. Petersburg. The Sunspree’s marina was home base for tournament activities spanning two days.
Friday night’s welcome party, cocktail reception and silent auction, featured guest speakers from the medical field. Dr Charles Cox MD, a treating physician of breast cancer for over 30 years, reminded all that “hope” is the cornerstone of successful recovery. Dr Karen Wells Md FACS, spoke of techniques available to recreate the size and shape of a woman’s breast, renewing her sense of beauty and femininity.
Saturday morning dawned with high hopes for big fish! Hooked on Hope is an inshore tournament and the hunt is for the holy trinity of inshore species: snook, trout, redfish.The dock was crowded as each three person team found their guide for the day. The morning was beautiful and guides hit the throttle to get anglers in place for their catch of the day!
One of the first of 50 boats out, Captain Sergio Atanes and his Reel Fishy team take to the water heading for the flats on the hunt for prime inshore game fish: snook, trout and redfish. Captain Mike Gore gets his boat into position for casting on a flawless morning.
Scores are kept by digital photos. The catch is placed on a special ruler board with a chip corresponding to the angler who caught the fish. Legal fish could be kept if the angler desired, but judging was based only on photographic evidence.
At 3pm all boats had to be back at the dock and captains stood in line to submit the photographic evidence of catches and dimensions.
Check back tomorrow for the results of the tournament! There were no losers. Anyone who had the chance to spend the day on the water with a first class local fishing guide and a fishing pole spent the day full of hope. Hope will always prevail and that’s what this great event “Hooked on Hope” was all about!