Husband and wife team wins Mercury Redbone Celebrity fishing tournament at Mosquito Lagoon

Jack Youngblood, NFL Hall of Fame, Capt. Mike Hakala, Sharon Sydnor, Larry Sydnor, artist David Green, Brian Hill, former Orlando Magic coach and ESPN color commentator.


Photos available via e-mail upon request
CONTACT: Pete Johnson Johnson Communications, at 480-951-3654

Husband and wife team wins Mercury Redbone Celebrity fishing tournament at Mosquito Lagoon Locates huge school of reds before deadline in cystic fibrosis fundraiser

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. — Larry and Sharon Sydnor thought their luck might keep them in second place for the second straight day of the Mercury Outboards Redbone @ Large celebrity fishing tournament. But a huge school of redfish changed that in the waning hours along the eastern central Florida coastline waters of Mosquito Lagoon.

The owners of a Ft. Lauderdale sign painting company crafted a come-from-behind-win catching and releasing 37 redfish in the final hours of the two-day tournament. Capt. Mike Hakala, New Smyrna Beach, guided them. The Sydnors commanded a runaway finish over first day leaders Gene Harper, New Smyrna Beach and Mike McAdaragh, Atlanta, Ga.

"We had tried a number of the same spots that had produced fish the first day but by noon we had nothing," said Larry. "Then our guide took us to a spot on the eastern edge of the lagoon and for the next hour and a half we were in thick with a school of about 100 redfish." "We were in them and had numerous double hookups," said Sharon.

"When we ran out of live bait, we tried artificial baits and flies, but the only things they fed on were shrimp," said Larry. "We kept our guide busy measuring (18" minimum for points), photographing and releasing all those fish. At the end of the two days Larry had caught/released 26 redfish and one trout; Sharon had 17 reds and two trout. Including team and individual honors Larry, Sharon and their guide Mike Hakala walked away with artwork and sculptures in seven categories.

In the celebrity division, recently retired 14-year major league baseball’s Mike Stanley, Maitland, Fla., held onto a first day lead and finished with four awards including the biggest redfish released.

The ex-Boston Red Sox catcher, first baseman and designated hitter had six releases including the 42-_ inch fish. Guided by New Smyrna Beach Capt. Scott Tripp, Stanley beat out former MLB manager Davey Johnson, Winter Park, Fla. Other celebrities competing in the 20-boat tournament included former Orlando Magic coach Brian Hill, Miami Dolphins’ linebacker Steve Towle plus sports hall of famers Jack Youngblood (NFL) and Denis Potvin (NHL).

Artwork was awarded to the top finishers. Participants paid a $2,000 entry fee to team with a celebrity or as a two-partner team. The celebrity tournaments benefit cystic fibrosis research to find a cure for the 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 Redbone (REDfish and BONEfish) began as a small local tournament in 1988 in Islamorada in the Florida Keys as a fundraiser to help CF patients like tournament founders Capt. Gary and Susan Ellis’ young daugher Nicole.

Mercury Outboards joined as a title sponsor 11 years ago. As the series grew, the world leader in fuel efficient, low emissions marine propulsion dedicated increasing manpower and money for the events.

The 14-year old Mercury Redbone series events have spring boarded national and international attention raising over $1.8 million dollars to find a cure for CF. Now many CF Foundation chapters around the country are beginning to include Mercury Redbone celebrity fishing tournaments in their annual special events.

The first year event in New Smyrna Beach was organized by the CF Orlando chapter. The next two new events include the Mercury Redbone @ Large/Mike Schmidt’s Winners Circle to Walker’s Cay, Bahamas, May 16 — 19, and the Mercury Redbone @ Large - Everglades City, Fla., June 29 — July 1.

For more information on these tournaments and/or fishing the Mercury Redbone fall series of celebrity tournaments in the Florida Keys, please call Susan Ellis at 305-664-2002. ###


Grand Champion Angler: Larry Sydnor, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. guided by Capt. Mike Hakala, New Smyrna Beach, Fla.

Celebrity Grand Champion Angler: Mike Stanley, Maitland, Fla. guided by Capt. Scott Tripp, New Smyrna Beach

Team Grand Champion Anglers: Larry and Sharon Sydnor, guided by Capt. Mike Hakala

Pro Celebrity Angler: John Bauman, Orlando, Fla.

First Runner-up Angler: Sharon Sydnor, guided by Capt. Mike Hakala

First Runner-up Celebrity: Davey Johnson, Winter Park, Fla., guided by Capt. Scott Nickels, Titusville, Fla.

First Runner-up Team: Gene Harper, New Smyrna Beach, and Mike McAdaragh, Atlanta, Ga. guided by Capt. Eric Mannino, New Smyrna Beach

Largest Redfish: Mike Stanley, 42.5" guided by Capt. Scott Tripp

Largest Trout: Gene Harper, 28" guided by Capt. Eric Mannino

Most redfish releases: Larry Sydnor (26), guided by Capt. Mike Hakala

Most trout releases: Sharon Sydnor (2), guided by Capt. Mike Hakala