Anglers eagerly anticipating “fishing blitz” at 11th F.C.A. Montauk Redbone celebrity tournament on L.I., N.Y.

With the fall fishing season about to start, anglers in the 11th F.C.A. Montauk Redbone, Sept. 19 – 21 at Long Island’s eastern tip are hoping to once again be treated to one of the angling’s most phenomenal experiences; the “fishing blitz.”

“No other fishery I know of can offer what Montauk has,” said Capt. Gary Ellis, founder and tournament director of the Redbone which raises money for medical researchers to ‘catch a cure for cystic fibrosis.’  “Two years ago 900 fish were caught, last year even more. It’s nirvana.”

“In the fall the fish move out of the bay and marsh to feed on large schools of bait near the shore. You’ll be sight-casting to large schools of fish crashing bait. As a Florida Keys guide I’ve seen giant daisy chains of circling tarpon, massive pods of feeding sailfish and huge pushes of redfish and bonefish. But Montauk is one of the most outstanding fisheries for fly fishing and light tackle anglers. These fish are remarkable to watch… and catch,” Ellis grinned.

The celebrity tournament at the host sponsor Montauk Yacht Club Resort, will welcome TV Top Chef Tom Colicchio now in his ninth cable TV season on Bravo’s Emmy winning series Top Chef All-Stars. Colicchio along with other celebs, anglers and guides will seek a “Nor’ East Grand Slam” of catching, photographing and releasing striped bass, bluefish and false albacore.

The Redbone series has spawned nearly 30 fishing events across the U.S. and internationally raising more than $16 million for scientists and researchers at the CF Foundation.

“Medical scientists are making amazing advancements with genetic research,” said Ellis. “Not only did it lead to isolating the CF gene, but it also paved the way for the discovery of the genes for sickle cell anemia, Huntington’s disease and many others. New CF drug research has helped improve lung function and add a little more time for patients. It’s remarkable how far they’ve come, but there’s still no cure and our tournaments continue in full force to help them.”

Most of the guides who donate a day of their time are from the Fisherman’s Conservation Association (FCA) of New York, which helps organize the event locally.

“The FCA is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to promote the ‘conservation triad’ of access, habitat, and fisheries management,” said Ellis. “The FCA’s financial support directly benefits the marine waters priorities of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

“The FCA’s guides, through Capt. Frank Crescitelli have been deeply committed to helping wipe out CF,” said Ellis. “Great strides in gene research for a cure have been made over these 11 years, and we’re excited to have the hands-on tournament involvement of the FCA.”

Angler entries still open

Anglers pay an entry fee of $3,500 for two people to fish as a team. The fee includes a guide and all meals and social events.

The public is invited to join in for a silent auction that starts on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 19 at 1 – 5 p.m., and then again Thursday from 6 – 8 p.m. when it closes.

A $250 per person social package is also available for the Thursday night banquet and live auction and the Friday evening lobster/clambake awards party at the Montauk Yacht Club.

Winners in numerous categories will take home beautifully framed limited edition marine artwork from nationally known artists. Prizes are awarded to the tournaments’ top anglers and teams in spin and fly divisions. Awards are presented for the largest fish released in each target species and the largest number of fish released.

For further information on the tournament or social tickets, please call Susan Ellis at the Redbone offices in Islamorada, Fla., at 305-664-2002 or go online at

Redbone’s 25 yr. background: From the Keys to 30 tournaments nationwide and beyond

In 1988, the Redbone (REDfish and BONEfish) began as a small local fundraising tournament in Islamorada in the Florida Keys to help over 30,000 CF patients across the nation such as Nicole Ellis, daughter of Capt. Gary and Susan Ellis.

The late Hall of Fame slugger Ted Williams, a Keys resident during and after his playing days, helped the Ellis family attract sports celebrities such as Wade Boggs, Curt Gowdy, Joe DiMaggio, and many others to compete in the tournament raising $16,000 at that first event.

Since then, the 25-year-old Redbone series has gained national and international attention, luring distinguished anglers from all around the world and raising over $16 million dollars for cystic fibrosis research. Last year’s combined events alone brought in $1.3 million.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes the body to produce 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. Though remarkable progress has been made through gene research, there’s still no cure for cystic fibrosis.

The events also gained fame on TV and print media as hundreds of top celebrities have competed in the past including General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, Hall of Fame Boston Celtic John Havlicek, actress and super model Lauren Hutton, astronaut Bruce Melnick and Forbes 500 world businessman, fishing author and Chaplin The Musical Broadway producer Bob Rich.

In addition to Montauk, other Redbone celebrity fishing events for a wide variety of fish species stretch from the Keys across the U.S., to the Bahamas, Mexico and Costa Rica.

“We also have a popular fall series, in which redfish and speckled sea trout are the target species in cities which include St. Augustine, Fla.; Golden Isles, Ga.; Charleston, S.C. and West Pointe Ala Heche, Louisiana,” said Ellis.

“Plus we have our original Redbone fall trilogy points series here in the Keys which began in Key West with the 23rd annual Robert James Sales SLAM, Sept. 7- 9, (tarpon, permit and bonefish) the 22nd Baybone, Oct. 5 – 7, in Key Largo (bonefish and permit) and in Islamorada the tournament that started it all, the 25th Redbone, Nov. 2 – 4, which fills up quickly with celebrities and anglers.”

Image courtesy Johnson Communications/Redbone

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