Twenty-three years constitutes an era. That's how long the Caloosa Tournament Series has been around for Lee County fishermen.
That era will come to an end with the series' Caloosa Grand Finale tournament on Nov. 2-3 at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa on Fort Myers Beach. If the void is to be filled by another tournament, founder and director Ron Riley won't be part of the effort.
Riley has decided to end the three-event series "on my own terms" after 23 years.
"This is my personal invitation to you to rekindle friendships and relationships that began so many years ago," says Riley. "For those of you that fished in the early years, this will be just like you remember. People will talk about the Grand Finale for a long time and I aim to please everyone ... you do not want to miss this celebration."
Riley has removed the entry qualification, but the field is limited to 50 paid teams.
"The tournament that led the market since 1989 will close as it began," adds Riley. "With a high payout, open bars, high end gear and fantastic food at a great location, and the last chance to celebrate 23 great years.
The Caloosa Tournament Series begins in the spring with the Caloosa Catch & Release on Captiva in June. The Summer Slam on September 21-22 and the Grand Championship, now renamed the Grand Finale.
Many of the same anglers also fish in the Chix-n-Stix tournament in March and the offshore Grouper Grab tournament, which unfolds this weekend at Port Sanibel Marina.
The Grand Finale guarantees $10,000 in prizes with $5,000 going to the overall winner. A separate Redfish Bonanza payout will reach $10,000 if at least 40 teams are entered. Redfish are the targeted species with a mystery fish to be announced at the captains' meeting on Nov. 2.