Fishing & Boating News

BLAZING MAKO Fishing Tournament & Festival News -- "Bid for Bouncer"

Highest bidder gets legendary captain to fish June 17-19 Keys event enhancing chance of winning $10,000 grand prize

by: courtesy Pete Johnson,

(May 6, 2016 - ISLAMORADA in the Fla. Keys,)

One of the 15 offshore teams in the inaugural Blazing Mako Bonfire Tournament & Festival, June 17-19, will enhance their chances of winning by bidding on Capt. Bouncer Smith to be their guide. 

The IGFA Legendary Captains Auction is underway for the Father’s Day weekend Bonfire Series event at the historic Islander Resort, a Guy Harvey Outpost in Islamorada, MM 82.1 Oceanside.  The Blazing Mako tournament, named for Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) mascot — the mako shark — will include offshore and inshore divisions. Offshore team registration for the non-profit tournament is $5,000 per team of six anglers.  Inshore registration is $2,500 for three anglers.  To register go to   

The Bonfire Series was first spirited two years ago in the Bahamas by world-renowned conservationist and artist Dr. Guy Harvey.  It has a targeted goal of $100,000 for marine science scholarships at NSU's Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography which houses the Guy Harvey Research Institute.

“Bouncer is an IGFA Legendary Captain and was recently featured in a YouTube video of, ironically, a leaping mako gripping his client’s hooked sailfish in its jaws,” said Capt. Cliff Jensen, Dir. of Sport Fishing and Watersports for Guy Harvey Outpost. “In his nearly 50 years on Florida waters he’s credited for his innovations of kite-fishing and use of down riggers.”

Along with the offshore auction for Bouncer, inshore anglers can bid for fly fishing expert and IGFA Hall of Famer Stu Apte, to team with them in the 15 boat backcountry competition.     

“Bouncer and Stu are considered to be among the best by their peers and clients from across the globe,” said Jensen. “Their fishing tips, knowledge, stories and one-on-one advice is priceless.  A chance to fish with either gentleman will be a major plus and long remembered.” 

The highest scorers among the 30 teams will have a chance to win $10,000.
Offshore and inshore fishing strategies

Smith has a tournament-winning strategy for his auction winning team. “Our primary goal would be targeting dolphin and any billfish we can find– white marlin, blue marlin and sailfish,” he said.  “June is prime time for dolphin fishing and a great time for the other species.”

On the backcountry side Apte said with optimum fishing conditions expected in June, the teams should be able to find plenty of tarpon, snook, and other inshore species. “My team partners are going to be on the casting platform,” Apte said of the auction winners. “I’m going to help back them up with a spinning rod. If they want me to demonstrate on fly rod, I’ll do it; whatever makes them happy as we score the points. I’m really excited.”

To bid on Bouncer or Stu go to .
Blazing Mako fishing seminars, free Artist/Conch-servation Village

At 4 p.m. on Friday, June 17, Smith and Apte will be joined by five colleagues to speak at the “Papa’s Pilar Fishing Seminar,” at the Angler House Marina. They include fellow captains Abie Raymond, Steve Thomas, Matt Bellinger, Richard Black and Randy Towe.  Stephen Davis from The Everglades Foundation will also talk. Entry is free to tournament participants but it is open to the public with a $20 donation to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation to benefit the NSU Scholarship Fund. There will be a complimentary Papa’s Pilar Rum sampling along with Saltwater Brewery beer for the event.

Besides Saturday’s offshore and inshore tournaments, the festival will include: a 100 tent “Artist/Conch-servation Village” of innovative art exhibits, conservation organizations’ displays, Rum Village tastings, silent auction, retailers, kid’s pier fishing tournament on Saturday, live entertainment all weekend including the Shane Duncan Band and Rock ‘N Roll magician Michael Trixx, Sunday paddleboard poker run and a huge beachside bonfire featuring a 30’ Blazing Mako sculpture made of recycled materials by Keys artist Pasta Pantaleo.

For more on the festival weekend go online to or call 800-513-5257.    

IGFA Hall of Famer Stu Apte