All American Backcountry Fishing Tournament

To Salute War Heroes

Tournament inspired by 41st US President George Bush set for November 8-10, 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 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.

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. 

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. 

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 live auction. This year’s auction features numerous items including jewelry from Blue Marlin, a fishing trip from Captain Randy Stallings, and a trip to Bristol Bay Lodge in Alaska, ranked the fourth best fishing lodge in the world by Forbes Magazine and the top-ranked fishing lodge in Alaska. 

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. 

While all three of the tournament’s social events are included in the tournament registration, social-only tickets for the public are available in limited quantity. Tickets to the kickoff dinner and awards banquet are $95 per function and tickets to the presentation by Andy Mill are $25. Advance reservations are required. Please call 305.517.4512 or email to make your reservations.

Title Sponsors include Robert-James Sales, Inc.; Abel Reels; Wells Fargo Bank’s Hospitality Finance Group; and McCullis Oil & Gas, Inc. Partner sponsors include Silver Kings, Costa, Tommy Bahama, Blue Marlin Jewelry, Florida Keys Brewing Company, Pasta Pantaleo, Bluefin, Mangrove Mike’s, Deco Productions, JL Promotions, Keys Audio Party Rentals, Executive Printers of Florida and Printing Plus. Other valued donors include Orvis, Andy Mill, Stu Apte and Captain Randy Stallings.

For more information, please contact Lisa Thornhill at

Schedule Of Events

Entry Form

Sponsorship Levels

Tournament Rules

In-kind Donation Form

2017 Press Release

Interested in becoming a sponsor? Please contact Lisa Thornhill at

2016 All American Backcountry Tournament Recap

Read the 2016 All American Tournament recap.