MATLACHA, FL. — Calling all fishermen - the Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament is just around the corner.
“Fishing out of a kayak, that’s different in itself. There’s so many fishing tournaments here in Southwest Florida, most of which are out of a boat,” Bryan Stockbridge said.
Bryan owns Gulf Coast Kayaks in Matlacha. He’s excited to co-host the tournament for the fourth year in a row.
There will be door prizes, a silent auction, live music, and of course, fishing.
Here’s how it works: anglers pay $65 to catch as many fish as they can, as fast as they can. When they’re done, they come back to the shore and weigh their fish.
The angler with the most massive catch wins.
But there’s more to this tournament than just the money or even the fish.
100 percent of the money that’s raised is going right back to the community.
“When it was decided where the money would go, Candlelighters was an easy choice,” Bryan said.
The Candlelighters of SWFL is a nonprofit focused on helping kids with cancer and blood diseases.
“I call us the little island with the big heart,” volunteer Christine Strom said.
The chapter gives children, and their families access to support groups and educational resources throughout Southwest Florida.
There are Candlelighters all around the country. The chapters are a part of the American Childhood Cancer Organization - a grassroots initiative focused on improving the lives of sick children and teens.
“When a kid has cancer, the whole family is going through this together,” Christine said.
“The fact that we can do a little part to help that organization which helps the families it really makes it all worth it,” added Bryan.