Raising Millions to Find a CF Cure – Redbone Tournament Founder Honored


What did life-long fishing guide Gary Ellis do when he and his wife Susan were faced with the news that their infant daughter Nicole had been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis?

The answer was easy – they vowed to commit their lives to finding a cure for CF by engaging the fishing community and raising millions of dollars. In collaboration with the CF Foundation, Gary and Susan created the Redbone Celebrity Tournament Series, which over the years has raised over $10 million dollars for CF research and is now attended by a “who’s who” of popular sports and entertainment stars, musicians and past presidents.

Gary didn’t stop there; 17 years ago he partnered with Big Game International and lent his expertise to help develop the best value in saltwater fishing – the Redbone rod series.  A portion of the sales of each Redbone rod goes to benefit CF research and the high quality and great value of the Redbone rod series has helped it become the go-to choice for charter boat captains and avid salt water anglers alike.

When interviewed at a recent Redbone Celebrity Tournament in Montauk, NY, Gary said, “There’s something about fisherman – they’re tenacious, they love a challenge – and what’s better than being able to fish and help save a young life at the same time – it doesn’t get any better . . . .”

At this year’s annual banquet at the IGFA Hall of Fame in Dania Beach, Florida, Ellis was inducted at the IGFA’s Fourth Annual Legendary Captains & Crews Awards Ceremony receiving the Tommy Gifford Award, along with several other captains from the US, Australia and Puerto Rico. The award is presented to seafarers who have made a mark across the world by their contributions to sport fishing through invention, outstanding catch or catches or by having set an extraordinary example of their recreational angling trade.

In addition, in late March, at the annual Redbone Island Walk to raise awareness and funds for the cure for cystic fibrosis in Islamorada, Florida, Ellis was surprised by US Congressman Joe Garcia (Florida) who joined the walk to provide him with a proclamation from the House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., thanking him for the nearly three decades of charity work.

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