KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — For 18 years the Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge has successfully combined family, fundraising and fishing. The 2017 tournament is set for Friday through Sunday, Sept. 22-24, in Key Largo.
Proceeds benefit adult vocational scholarships for Upper Keys residents as well as the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, a statewide initiative that awards subsidies to college-bound, economically disadvantaged students between seventh and 12th grades who pair with a mentor. The state of Florida matches funds raised to provide these scholarships.
Anglers and their supporters are to gather for a public kick-off party Friday, Sept. 22, at the tournament's social event headquarters, the Florida Keys Elks Club, mile marker 92.6 in Tavernier. The welcome party features bar drinks and appetizers between 5 and 6 p.m., immediately followed by a captains and anglers meeting.
Anglers can hit the shallows to fish for trout, redfish and snook as soon as kick-off festivities end and continue through 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24. An awards dinner and live and silent auction are to follow at the Elks Lodge.
Trophies for overall backcountry champion and first- through third-place for each of the three target species are to be awarded in the adult division, as well as top guide and top professional. Junior division trophies, for anglers age 17 and under, are to be awarded for the total combined species and single largest fish of each species.
Entry fees are $125 per adult angler and $60 per junior angler on or before Sept. 21. Fees include social events. Social tickets for nonanglers are available for Friday and Sunday evening events, priced at $15 and $45, respectively, purchased on or before the Sept. 21 deadline.
Key Largo visitor information: fla-keys.com/keylargo or 800-822-1088
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing