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Annual Rotary fishing tournament set for Saturday

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By Ryan Butler

The Chiefland Rotary Club will host its annual fishing tournament this weekend in Cedar Key. The event begins with a mandatory captains’ meeting on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Cedar Key Community Center. Anglers have until weigh-ins at 4 p.m on Saturday to catch the biggest fish.

Recent fishing restrictions in the Gulf of Mexico limit the competition haul to five trout and two redfish total.

First place for biggest trout and biggest redfish can earn up to $500 in prize money. 

Nearly 50 boats are expected to participate this year, a similar number to years past. A two-person boat costs $150 with a $50 charge for each additional angler. All proceeds go directly to support the club’s community activities. 

The event raises money for the club which in turn uses the funds to aid over a dozen organizations including Levy ARC, Toys for Tots and Haven Hospice. 

“This is our largest fundraiser all year,” said Rotary Seargent-at-arms Mike Michaelis, “Funds are used to give back to the community. It’s very important that we do well so we can support our group projects.” 

The Chiefland Rotary is also looking to invest in a scholarship to send an area special needs child to The Rotary Youth Camp. The club contributed $1,000 in district-designated funds for one of its biggest projects of the year. 

“This camp is a life changing event for a child,” Michaelis said. 

Already the tournament has had one of its best years in soliciting sponsors. 

 Compared to last year, the club has netted 19 more for the tournament. It was the result of a better effort to approach and involve new sponsors, Michaelis said.