(L-R): David Wirth, trophy artist; Captain Larry Syndor, fishing guide; Dr. Lloyd Wruble, Chairman of the Herman Lucerne Memorial; James Lytle, Grand Champion angler
The Herman Lucerne Memorial held its 16th annual backcountry fishing tournament with a record number of participants this past Saturday and Sunday, September 19 - 20. The tournament is a challenging two-day, ‘catch and release’ event that is now the largest backcountry fishing event in the Keys. Anglers of all levels are invited; the seven species to be caught are snook, snapper, redfish, trout, bonefish, tarpon, and black drum.
The Grand Champion was James Lytle, a first-time participant in the event, who had a spectacular tournament by catching all seven species. Other winners in their respective categories included: Markham Cronin, Top Male/Guided; Dave Preston, Top Male/Unguided; Betsy Bullard, Top Female/Guided; Stephanie Parsons, Top Female/Unguided; Ray Fernandez, Top Junior/Guided; and Mitch Kraus, Top Junior/Unguided. In addition, Dave Preston achieved what he called ‘the catch of a lifetime’ with an impressive 40-inch, fly-caught snook.
“This was our best tournament to date, and we could see the enthusiasm anglers of all levels have for the event as we were sold-out weeks before,” said Dr. Lloyd Wruble, Chairman of the Herman Lucerne Memorial. He added: “Our event is both unique and challenging, and is held against the backdrop of the beautiful Everglades. This year’s tournament, with 69 boats and 124 anglers from 14 different states, attests to the growing excitement our event has generated.”
The tournament is named in honor of Herman Lucerne, one of Everglades National Park’s most respected backcountry anglers who died tragically in 1992 during Hurricane Andrew. He was also well-known for his love of the Everglades.
The proceeds of $65,000 from the tournament will go to Everglades National Park for fishing, boating, and conservation interests.
About Herman Lucerne Memorial
The Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Fishing Championship was founded in 2000 by Homestead Hospital and Dr. Lloyd Wruble of Miami in honor of the late Herman Lucerne, a pioneer and legend in backcountry fishing in Everglades National Park. Limited to the boundaries of Everglades National Park, the tournament is a unique and challenging two-day, “catch and release” event that welcomes anglers of all skill levels, both young and old, and male and female. The seven species to be caught are: snook, snapper, redfish, trout, bonefish, tarpon, and black drum. Anglers may use bait, artificial or fly tackle, and may be guided or unguided. All proceeds from the tournament benefit Everglades National Park, a designated World Heritage Site. The Herman Lucerne Memorial is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. For more information, please visit our website www.hermanlucernememorial.com.
Captain Dave Chouinard; Dr. Lloyd Wruble, Chairman of the Herman Lucerne Memorial; Chris and Wendy Peterson, owners of Hell’s Bay Boatworks presenting sponsor
Dave Preston with his impressive 40-inch, fly-caught snook!