Angler Jim Bokor Jr., of Buffalo, New York, released five species of fish to win the Cheeca Lodge and Spa All American Backcountry fish tournament on Nov. 9.
A two-day fish tournament, anglers from across the United States reeled and released tarpon, redfish, permit, bonefish and snook for points. A total of 166 were released with 17 on fly rod, 46 on artificial tackle, and 103 using bait.
Bokor Jr. released all five species of fish for the victory. Fishing with Capt. Richard Black, he released six snook and three redfish on artificial tackle. He also released 22 fish on bait – one permit, 10 bonefish, three tarpon, three snook and five redfish, winning the bait division as well. Runner-up angler Eddie Huff, of Piney Flats, Tennessee, also released all five species fishing with Capt. Jake Turek. He released one tarpon on fly, two snook on artificial, one redfish on artificial plus three species on bait – four permit, one bonefish and five snook.
Capt. Eric Herstedt, fishing with Brian McCulliss from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and his son Paul McCulliss, of Castle Pines, Colorado, took home the Team Grand Champion award. The team released 16 snook, seven redfish and one bonefish, all on bait.
Winning anglers were awarded prints and originals from local artist and Cheeca employee Osvaldo Fernandez Diaz. The awards party took place at Cheeca’s new banquet facility.
“This is a very special event with Cheeca Lodge and Spa bringing veterans to the Keys to fish every year,” said Bill Coteron, general manager. “Our commitment to this tournament and our veterans is heartfelt. We hope you will join us next year over Veterans Day to fish this great event.”