Each year the Fillet & Release Fishing Tournament benefits Hope Hospice and its services in Southwest Florida.
Hope Hospice offers specialized services for families affected by life changes related to illness or death and for nine years the annual fishing tournament has donated thousands of dollars to Hope programs. This year's tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Matanzas Inn, 414 Crescent Street, Fort Myers Beach.
Amy Andrew, tournament coordinator, said it was designed for the everyday angler and weekend warrior. Originally, it started as a fishing trip with a group of friends but transformed into an annual event after Andrew's grandmother was in care at Hope Hospice.
"They went above and beyond to make sure my grandmother was comfortable and her last days were amazing," said Andrew.
Andrew and her friends decided to take some of the winnings and donate them to Hope Hospice, since the organization was taking care of her grandmother at no cost.
The event has ballooned over the years into a major tournament and last year hosted 62 fishing teams. There is also an after party with a buffet, live music, drinks, raffles, and a guest appearance by the Zig Zag Girlz from the Seminole Casino Immokalee because this year's theme is poker. The cash payout is estimated to be $7,050.
What: Ninth Annual Fillet & Release Fishing Tournament
When: Saturday, Sept. 14
Where: Matanzas Inn, 414 Crescent Street, Fort Myers Beach
Details: Visit www.filletandrelease4hospice.com or www.hopehcs.org/Fish
The tournament costs $250 per team, with a maximum of four anglers per boat, and Andrew said anglers will mostly find sea trout and redfish. Prizes are also awarded to the angler who catches the largest slot redfish, redfish with the most spots, and mystery fish that weighs the most.
She said Hope Hospice provides so many other services to the community that people don't know about.
"They have grief counseling and other services at Hope Hospice," said Andrew. "They are a wonderful organization."