Catch the Cure for Cystic Fibrosis!

Redbone 2002 Tournaments


Father and son win Mercury Redbone @ Large Celebrity tournament at Mosquito Lagoon

MLB baseball's Davey Johnson wins among celebrities helping to
"Catch the cure for CF"

NEW 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. Scott Tripp.

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 Steve Towle.

"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, Orlando.

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," she said.

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 series

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 first event.

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.

Second Annual Mercury Outboards Redbone@ Large Mosquito Lagoon Tournament Results - April 14, 2002
New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Grand Champion Angler: Travis Niemi, Maitland, Fla., guided by Capt. Scott Tripp

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. John Turcot

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

Total Boats 22