KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Fishing for elusive shallow-water gamefish is the primary attraction of the 2017 Robert James Sales S.L.A.M., set to draw anglers, guides and celebrities to Key West Friday through Sunday, Sept. 8-10.
The popular catch-and-release tournament pits participants against tarpon, permit and bonefish, widely regarded as the "big three" of the flats. Scoring all three on the same day is known as a flats grand slam.
The S.L.A.M., whose name is an acronym for Southernmost Light Tackle Anglers Masters, is the first in an annual Florida Keys autumn tournament trilogy that benefits the fight against cystic fibrosis. The life-threatening chronic lung disease is the United States' leading genetic killer of children and young adults.
A number of celebrities show their support by taking part in the tournament each year. Celebrity competitors typically include Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, former Denver Broncos football player Mark Cooper and former NASA space shuttle astronaut Bruce Melnick.
Anglers and teams earn points by catching and releasing fish in the tournament's fly, spin/plug or bait categories, with prizes awaiting the champion anglers, teams and guides. Awards are based on the most accumulated points representing the most species of a slam.
Preceding the main event is The Angling Company's Superfly, a one-day, one-fly tournament based at Hurricane Hole Restaurant & Marina, mile marker 4.5 oceanside. Fishing is scheduled Friday, Sept. 8.
Registration for the S.L.A.M. is slated for 5:30-6:30 p.m. Friday in the ballroom of the DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Grand Key, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd., followed by a kick-off reception, rules meeting and live and silent auctions.
Fishing in the S.L.A.M. is set for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9 and 10.
A dockside party for anglers and celebrities is scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Saturday at Hurricane Hole, while a dockside awards party is planned for 4-6 p.m. Sunday.
Entry for the S.L.A.M., which includes two days' charter fees with a professional guide as well as social privileges, is $3,700 for a two-angler team. Superfly entry is $350 per angler who also fishes the S.L.A.M. or $500 to fish the Superfly only.
Tournament information and registration: redbone.org or 305-664-2002
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing