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Nearly two dozen boats took part in Redfish Challenge

September 12, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Pine Island Eagle

Twenty-two boats participated in the fourth annual Matlacha Redfish Challenge at the Olde Fish House Marina Saturday afternoon, which benefited Fellow Islanders Sending Help, F.I.S.H.

Tournament director Jason Snyder said he was happy with the turnout of Saturday's event. He said although the tournament attracted fewer boats than the previous year it was still about average for the event.

The combined weight of two redfish determined the first, second, third and fourth place winners. The mystery fish for the tournament was snapper.

The first place team was Yankee No Dobley and The Dandies with a total weight of 13.26; SP Designs/Howler Monkey placed second with a weight of 12.80; third place went to Team Focus with a total weight of 12.72 and Team Raymond weighed in with 11.94 for fourth place.

The purse for the first place was $1,500, second place was $1,000, third place was $500 and fourth place was $250.

The first place team was comprised of Billy Glass, Jen Glass and Amanda Jones of Bokeelia.

Jones said her husband fished in a tournament on Captiva Saturday.

Billy said it is always an honor to fish against all the other anglers of the area.

"Everyone caught fish, we just caught the right one," he said.

Billy said although they are regular participants of the tournament, this is the first time they placed first.

"It is very exciting," he said about winning first place.

Jen and Jones caught all the fish, which included a 27-inch and 26-inch redfish.

"We enter a lot of tournaments," Jen said, adding that they go out fishing often.

She said placing first place was about the glory of winning the tournament, along with having the bragging rights.

"Mostly it's for the charity," Jen said of the tournament.

F.I.S.H. President Diane Higgins was also among the crowd Saturday afternoon selling raffle tickets, along with manning the silent auction table.

"I think it's wonderful," she said of the tournament benefiting the organization.

Jason and his wife Darlene Snyder were made honorary members of F.I.S.H. because of their dedication to the organization.

"A wonderful couple," Higgins said.

The money donated to F.I.S.H. from the tournament will go towards the special needs financial assistance programs.

Higgins said they have had a busy summer helping with their biggest ticketed items, rent and utilities. They have also helped with doctor bills and prescriptions.

One phenomenon this summer, she said, has to do with the mobility equipment they lend out to those in need. Higgins said the equipment that is lent out, typically comes back during the summer, which the majority did not come back this year because more clients are needing them for long time use.

"In the future we may need more wheelchairs," she said because of the long-term demand they are currently experiencing.

Since F.I.S.H. does not do any fund-raising on its own, Higgins said she is so pleased to have the Synders think of them.

Right now the organization is in need of drivers who can take individuals to non-emergency appointments, a trip to the bank or grocery store.

"We can always use anyone who can drive," Higgins said.

Those interested in volunteering their time can call 239-283-4442.

The organization is already in planning stages for the holiday. Higgins said they are accepting donations for their basket brigade program.

Snyder said this year the tournament's main sponsors were D&D Bait & Tackle who sponsored the first place prize, Plumbing Solutions of SWFL who sponsored the third place prize, SP Design who designed and produced the shirts and the Olde Fish House Marina for hosting the event.



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