Anglers, get your bait and tackle ready! The 5th Annual Grouper Grapple returns to Fish Tale Marina on August 11th-12th, offering a full day of fishing fun for a great cause – wounded veterans – by teaming up with Freedom Alliance, a group that gives assistance to injured troops and their families.
The Grouper Grapple was founded by Brian Peachey in 2013 as a means to give back to the community and show support to combat wounded veterans that have served our country. The tournament started with just 16 boats in 2013, and has grown to 33 entries in 2016.
The fun begins on Friday night with the mandatory Captain’s Meeting where rules are explained and tournament gear given out. Anglers may depart at 8:30pm to get some sleep, because lines are in the water at a 6:30am honor start. Fishing is limited to the area between Gordon’s Pass and Boca Grande, and all boats must return to Fish Tale and be in sight of the weigh master no later than 6pm. The weigh station will open at 4pm, raffles are from 4-7pm and the Awards Ceremony will be held from 9-10:30pm – the public is invited. Cost to enter is $600 per five-angler team (extra person $100).
Funds raised by the Freedom Alliance are used to bring a group of veterans to the event, provide them with hotel accommodations, breakfast, lunch and dinner Thursday -Sunday, Back Bay fishing trips, commemorative plaques, entry into the tournament and specialized apparel and a chance to join their brothers in arms in an atmosphere designed just for them.
This year the Jeff Sommer Memorial Scholarship Fund will also benefit from the tournament. Sommer was a coach at Estero High School who had a positive impact on hundreds of young people and adults. Brian Peachey, founder of the Grouper Grapple was an all-star athlete who ran cross-country and track for Coach Sommer.
Last year 33 teams participated and sixteen veterans were treated to a weekend of fishing all expenses paid. At the end of the day winners included: 1st Place – Dock Star $10,230.00 Captain Jeff Garrard; 2nd Place – Think Pink $5,580.00 Captain Eric Schmidt; 3rd Place – Florida Weekly $2,790.00 Captain Christopher Newport and 4th Place – Fish Tale Marina $1,000 Captain Mark Combs.
For more tournament information please visit www.groupergrapple.com or contact Brian Peachey at 239-437-6007.