60+ BOATS PREPARE FOR AN EARLY-MORNING SHOTGUN START FROM LOR-E-LEI RESTAURANT AND MARINA
Each year, the dedicated fishing guides of the Florida Keys and their supporters converge to arrange a fishing tournament focused on Bonefish, Redfish, and Snook. Aside from the guaranteed fun that is to be had by all involved, the goal of this event surrounds raising money and awareness for the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association (FKFGA). Established in 1956, the FKFGA has two main goals: 1.) to support fellow guides in time of need, injury, or hardship through the Guides Trust Foundation (GTF); and 2.) to act as stewards and fund the maintenance and longevity of some of the most sensitive fishing grounds in the world, while professionalizing the guide program and ensuring the success of wildlife species native to the area.
In order to mitigate stress on the waters, the tournament is one-day long, yet gives participation to over 120 guides and anglers. Sponsors understand that the Florida Keys, while deemed the “Fishing Capitol of the World,” is an ever-increasingly sensitive environment. Visitation to the area is always a gamble—based on economic fluctuations, weather forecasts, and competing destinations… The larger gamble is its ecological viability. The Florida Everglades and inshore waters are threatened by surrounding populations and industry and that threat increases each year. Fracking operations, sugar production, fresh water diversion, farming overflows, and warming climates are steadily pressuring the waters with change. The fish and biodiversity rely on salinity rates, and a steady influx of fresh water to this area is paramount.
In recent years, needed fresh water resources to the Everglades have been soaked up by farming and daily, human needs from surrounding metropolitan areas. Natural flows of this water into the estuaries is increasingly diverted into farms, mining, and drinking needs. What is released back into the environment is a supercharged liquid that contains an abundance of phosphates, nutrients, and non-native biomass. The short story is that the grasses in these areas are being killed off and unpredicted algae blooms are suffocating native species. Fish are dying. Methane counts are increasing. The sport and its principle suffer.
The Swamp Guides Ball is there to foster the captains of the Keys and the areas they make their living. It is their caretaker in times of need. If the waters are threatened, these guides are thereby threatened as well. Monic Fly Fishing supports this and many other tournaments in an effort to preserve that “Fishing Capitol of the World.” Without this support and the support of many other likeminded companies, we will see this resource fade considerably in our lifetime. To expect our children to fish in these heralded waters is but a wish—one that we cast to the wind every day we find ourselves blessed by that air.
If you wish to support the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association, please take a close look at the following websites.