Cheeca Lodge All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament Cancelled

Cheeca Lodge & Spa to Cancel All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament

Pledging $10,000 donation to Guides Trust Foundation (GTF)
for Florida Keys Fishing Guides in Need

Cheeca has announced the cancellation of its 6th Annual All American Backcountry Tournament scheduled to take place November 16-18, 2017, in Islamorada, FL. Typically held over Veterans Day weekend, the tournament was set to host two war heroes, with proceeds benefitting the Guides Trust Foundation, a locally-based nonprofit supporting Florida Keys fishing guides in need.

While alternatives to move forward with the tournament were explored, the impact of Hurricane Irma made it too difficult for Cheeca to deliver a tournament of this caliber in November.

In lieu of the tournament, Cheeca and its owners, Northwood Investors, will be donating $10,000 to the Guides Trust Foundation whose Board of Directors is currently developing  a comprehensive strategy to help those Florida Keys Guides and their families who were most impacted by Hurricane Irma. Several tournament sponsors have also pledged to donate to the GTF. More information on the GTF, including the ability to make a donation to help Florida Keys guides in need, can be found at

Cheeca Lodge & Spa expects to re-open in the first quarter of 2018, and we hope you will join us for next year's tournament which will be held over Veterans Day Weekend (November 8-10, 2018). 

For more information, please contact Lisa Thornhill by email or at 305-504-3068.


Tournament inspired by 41st US President George Bush set for Nov. 16-18, 2017 to include war heroes in the competition with proceeds benefitting 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 16-18, 2017 at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, Islamorada, FL. In honor of Veteran’s Day, the event will host two war heroes to join the competition. The acclaimed event was inspired by 41st President George Bush, an avid Keys angler and a regular visitor to Cheeca. Proceeds benefit the locally based nonprofit Guides Trust Foundation (GTF) for Florida Keys guides in need.

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 with fishing departing from nearby World Wide Sportsman.

This tournament will kick-off on Thursday, November 16, 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 7am to 3pm on Friday, November 17, and Saturday, November 18, 2017. The tournament culminates on Saturday, November 18, 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 2017 is 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. Also included is a daily continental breakfast dockside at World Wide Sportsman, boxed lunches for anglers and guides and a gift bag per person.

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.

For more information, please contact Lisa Thornhill at

Schedule Of Events


Sponsorship Levels

Tournament Rules

In-kind Donation Form

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2017 Tournament Sponsors

We graciously acknowledge our generous sponsors:








Interested in becoming a sponsor? Please contact Lisa Thornhill at

2016 All American Backcountry Tournament Recap

Read the 2016 All American Tournament recap.