Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament to Salute War Heroes

Tournament inspired by 41st US President George Bush set for Nov. 8-10, 2018 includes war heroes and benefits Florida Keys Fishing Guides in Need

War heroes will compete with world-class anglers at the 6th Annual Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament, November 8-10, 2018 at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, FL. In honor of Veteran’s Day, the event invites two war heroes to join the competition. The acclaimed event was inspired by 41st President George Bush, an avid Florida Keys angler and a regular visitor to Cheeca. Proceeds benefit the locally-based nonprofit Guides Trust Foundation (GTF) for Florida Keys guides in need.

“The All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament is part of Cheeca Lodge’s iconic legacy,” said Bob LaCasse, General Manager of Cheeca Lodge & Spa. “After a successful reopening following Hurricane Irma, we’re thrilled to bring this tournament back to Cheeca and business back to the guides.”

All American anglers fish on a guided charter boat or their own boat with a licensed guide. They will compete for trophies and awards for releasing five different species of inshore fish: snook, redfish, bonefish, tarpon and permit. Individual and team trophies will be awarded for fly, general tackle/spinning/conventional and artificial lure divisions. Live bait is permitted in the general tackle division.

Social events will be held at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, a sportsman paradise renowned for its barefoot elegance, with fishing departing from nearby World Wide Sportsman.

This first-class tournament will kick-off on Thursday, November 8, with a cocktail reception, rules meeting, patriotic banquet on the beach and auction. Tickets to attend the kickoff dinner and auction are available to the community with advance reservations.

Competitive fishing hours are from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, November 9, and Saturday, November 10, 2018. The tournament culminates on Saturday, November 10, with an awards ceremony and banquet, where anglers can mingle with fishing celebrities such as world-famous fly angler, Stu Apte. Awards for Individual Grand Champion, Individual Runner-Up, Grand Champion Team, Runner-Up Grand Champion Team, Champions in the Fly, Artificial and General Tackle Divisions will be presented.

New for 2018 is a Friday evening presentation by Andy Mill, a world-famous fly angler, former alpine ski racer and two-time Olympian. The cocktail reception at 5:30 pm followed by his presentation, “A Passion for Tarpon” at 6 p.m. is included in the entry. The public may purchase tickets to attend the presentation.

This year’s tournament boasts a lower entry fee of $1,500 per angler, offering two social events with dinner and beverages for four people, including the angler and a guest, and the guide and guest, plus a cocktail reception and presentation by Andy Mill. Also included is a daily continental breakfast dockside at World Wide Sportsman, boxed lunches for anglers and guides and a gift bag per person.

Title Sponsors to date include Robert-James Sales, Inc., and Mayfly Outdoors which owns Abel Reels, Ross Reels and Charlton Reels. Partner sponsors include Bluefin, Executive Printers of Florida, Printing Plus and more.

Cheeca will also host the 29th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament January 25-27, 2019, the third leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.

Visit or the All American Facebook page for more information. For information on all tournaments, visit or call 305-517-4512.

About the Tournament:

Cheeca’s All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament boasts a rich history from the era of President George Bush. A regular visitor to Cheeca Lodge, President Bush helped co-found the annual George Bush Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament held from 1994 to 2004. It was attended by a plethora of celebrities, including U.S. Army Four Star General Norman Schwartzkopf, tennis great Chris Evert, Olympic skier Andy Mill and former secretary of the treasury James Brady, among others. The tournament received local, regional and national publicity, including segments on The CBS Early Show and many other television shows. It was continued with the name All American to preserve the patriotic legacy. In lieu of holding the tournament in 2017 following Hurricane Irma, Cheeca contributed $10,000 to the Guides Trust Foundation to help the local guides in need. For more information on the tournament, please visit:, or call the resort at 305.517.4512.

About Cheeca Lodge & Spa:

A cornerstone of the Islamorada community since 1946, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is set on a 27-acre private estate in the “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” Cheeca boasts 214 guestrooms, oceanfront suites and bungalows, and its signature feature is the classic 525 ft. wooden fishing pier. One of the most popular suites is the George Bush Presidential Suite filled with priceless photos and mementos that were donated by the former President. Cheeca guests can enjoy watersports activities and excursions, tennis and sports courts, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a Spa with 11 treatment rooms, a family and adults-only lappool, poolside cabanas, an oceanfront tiki hut, Camp Cheeca for children, over 4,500 sq. ft. of event space, and three distinctive restaurants. The Lodge has reopened with a new look on March 30, following renovations due to Hurricane Irma. For more information visit

About Guides Trust Foundation:

Cheeca supports the non-profit Guides Trust Foundation which provides student scholarships and assists Florida Keys fishing guides in times of crisis or injury. For more information or to donate, visit