and son win Mercury Redbone @ Large Celebrity tournament at Mosquito
baseball's Davey Johnson wins among celebrities helping to
"Catch the cure for CF"
SYMRNA BEACH, Fla. ---Father and son, Bob and Travis Niemi, Maitland,
Fla., won the grand champion team title at this past weekend's
second annual Mercury Outboards Redbone @ Large Mosquito Lagoon
celebrity-fishing tournament catching and releasing six redfish
and 21 trout.
Travis also won as the grand champion angler, guided by Capt.
The unique and popular (April 12 & 14) event, is part of the Redbone
tournament series that began in the Fla. Keys 15 years ago benefiting
cystic fibrosis (CF) cure research. Fishing took place in the
beautiful east central Florida interior coastline waters of the
Canaveral Seacoast National Park known as Mosquito Lagoon.
"We've fished with Scott quite a bit in the Fla. Keys," said
Bob Niemi. "He was awesome here at Mosquito Lagoon which is his
home fishing grounds. My son and I try to fish together at least
once to twice a month and it was great fishing with him this weekend
for this great cause."
"The barometer was a big factor with lots of ups and downs over
the weekend," said Tripp. "Because there was very little sunshine
to sight fish we fished at almost all my old and reliable spots."
The team said they used mostly Riptide jerk baits and jigs.
Former L. A. Dodger manager Davey Johnson, Winter Park, the celebrity
host of the event, bested fellow celebrities by catching four
pairings of redfish and trout. He was guided by Capt. John Turcot.
Other popular celebs competing included former Philadelphia Phillies
slugger and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt, two-time space shuttle
astronaut Bruce Melnick and former veteran Miami Dolphins linebacker
"The fishing was fabulous," said Johnson. "We were able to get
into some very skinny water with Turcot's Hell's Bay and Mercury
25 hp combination, waters not many of the others could pole into."
Johnson's partner on Saturday, Gary New, Sorrento, Fla., took
home awards of paintings as the first runner up angler, spin/plug
division champion and the overall angler with the most releases
(10) of redfish. Daytona Beach News Journal outdoor writer Jordan
Kahn, Johnson's partner on Sunday, caught the largest trout on
artificial bait, at 21 inches to also win an award.
Defending team champions, husband and wife Larry and Sharon Sydnor,
Ft Lauderdale also took honors as celebrity pro and general division
champion respectively. She had nine releases of reds and specs
guided by Capt. Mike Hakala.
Air Force Major General Bill Gorton (ret.), Park City, Utah, won
paintings as he captured both the Fly Division and the release
of the largest redfish on fly at 29-1/2 inches. Guided by Capt.
Mark Thomas, Gorton's teammate Tim Eshelman, Roanoke, Ind., caught
and released the largest redfish on artificial bait at 32 inches.
Eschelman's brother Pete, Roanoke, Ind., won with the largest
trout caught on fly at 17 in.. He was guided by Capt. Joey Aloe,
Diane Kudrick, executive director of the CF Foundation regional
office in Orlando who organized the tournament said she expected
to announce next week how much money was raised from entry fees,
sponsorships, auctions, boutique and clothing sales. Raising
$30,000 last year for CF was a fabulous first year event for us,"
JB's Fish Camp, Kelsey's Riverview Restaurant and the Riverview
Hotel served as the host locations for the three-day event.
Event kickoffs new Mercury Red*Trout series within the Redbone
The Mosquito Lagoon tournament was also the kickoff event for
a new tournament series within the Mercury Redbone family of celebrity
events, the Mercury Red*Trout series said Redbone tournament founder
and director Capt. Gary Ellis.
"At many of the new CF chapter originated tournaments around the
southeast region, redfish and trout are the common species like
here at Mosquito Lagoon," said Ellis. Other Mercury Red*Trout
events will be in Rockport, Texas, June 21 & 23; St. Augustine,
Fla., Sept. 12 & 14; St. Simon's Island, Ga., Oct. 10 & 12; New
Orleans, Oct. 18 & 20; Biloxi, Ms., Oct. 24 & 26 and Charleston,
S.C. Nov. 1 & 3.
All of the tournaments are catch, photograph and release events.
Other CF chapters around the nation with prominent fishing areas
are launching new Mercury Redbone formatted celebrity fishing
tournaments as major fundraisers.
The Redbone (REDfish and BONEfish) began as a small local tournament
in 1988 in Islamorada in the Fla. Keys as a fundraiser to help
CF patients like Gary and Susan Ellis' young daughter Nicole.
Hall of Fame slugger Ted Williams, then Keys resident, helped
the Ellis' attract many of his celebrity friends and through efforts
of guides, anglers and volunteers they raised $16,000 at that
Mercury Outboards joined as a title sponsor 11 years ago dedicating
increasing manpower and money for the events helping to gain national
and international attention as well. The 15-year old Mercury Redbone
series has raised over $2 million dollars to find a cure for CF.
Ellis said he hopes to raise $1 million dollars this year from
the increased events around the nation.
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes the body to produce
an abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and can
lead to life-threatening lung infections. The CF mucus also obstructs
the pancreas, interfering with digestion. Remarkable progress
has been made, but at this time, there is no cure, and the work
is not complete until the cure is found.
For further information on the Mercury Redbone tournament sites
around the nation please call Susan Ellis at the Redbone office
in Islamorada, Fla., 305-664-2002.
Annual Mercury Outboards Redbone@ Large Mosquito Lagoon Tournament
Results - April 14, 2002
Smyrna Beach, Fla.
Champion Angler: Travis Niemi, Maitland, Fla., guided by Capt.
Celebrity Grand Champion: Davey Johnson (MLB player & manager),
guided by Capt. John Turcot
Pro-Celebrity Grand Champion Angler: Capt. Larry Sydnor, Ft. Lauderdale,
Fla., guided by Capt.Mike Hakala
Team Grand Champion Anglers: Bob and Travis Niemi, Maitland, guided
by Capt. Scott Tripp
First Runner-Up Angler: Gary New, Sorrento, Fla., guided by Capt.
First Runner-Up Team: Terry Lubinsky and Lilliana Fremion, Sanford,
Fla., guided by Capt. Dave Brown
Fly Division Champion: Major General Bill Gorton, Park City, Utah,
29-1/2", guided by Capt. Mark Thomas
Spin-Plug Division Champion: Gary New, Sorrento, Fla , guided
by Capt. John Turcot
General Division Champion: Sharon Sydnor, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,
guided by Capt. Mike Hakala
Most Trout Releases: Travis Niemi, Maitland, Fla , guided by Capt.
Scott Tripp. ---12 releases
Most Redfish Releases: Gary New, Sorrento, Fla , guided by Capt.
John Turcot--- 10 releases
Largest Redfish on Fly: Major General Bill Gorton, Park City,
Utah, 29-1/2", guided by Capt. Mark Thomas
Largest Redfish on Spin/Plug: Tim Eshelman, Roanoke, Ind., 32",
guided by Capt. Mark Thomas
Largest Redfish General: Travis Niemi, Maitland, Fla, 31-1/2 ",
guided by Capt. Scott Tripp
Largest Trout on Fly: Pete Eshelman, Roanoke, Ind., 17", guided
by Capt. Joey Aloe
Largest Trout on Spin/Plug: Jordan Kahn, Daytona Beach, 27", guided
by Capt. John Turcot
Largest Trout General: Bob Niemi, Maitland, Fla, 29", guided by
Capt. Scott Tripp