In less than a month, the winner of the 2012 Calusa Blueway Fishing Tournament will take home a new Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 fishing kayak, courtesy of Hobie and Estero River Outfitters.
Cash prizes also will be awarded to those who place in the Nov. 3 tournament.
The event consists of a one-day competition for anglers who catch-and-release snook, redfish, sea trout and other species in Lee County waterways. There is a captains' meeting at Angler's Inn, Matlacha, on Nov. 2 with refreshments from Bert's Bar & Grill.
The Nov. 3 official weigh-in at Matlacha Park coincides with the annual Bluegrass for a Blueway and A Taste of Matlacha, featuring live music by the Skeeterland Bluegrass Band. This year's catch-and-release tournament is expected to lure 50 to 75 anglers to Lee County waterways as part of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival.
In addition to the fishing kayak, the first-place winner also gets accessories for a package valued at more than $3,000.
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 is compact and versatile, equipped with features such as vantage seating, under-seat tackle storage, horizontal storage for four rods and a livewell-ready cargo area.
The runner-up receives $500, based on 50 participants. The third-place angler collects $300, the fourth-place winner $150, and the fifth-place winner takes home $50.
The tournament is part of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival, which includes instruction, demonstrations, speakers, guided paddles, a photo contest and evening entertainment throughout the weekend.
New this year is a streamlined online registration site for anglers, who pay a $60 fee to compete. Visit www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com and click on "activities" and "fishing tournament" to find the registration link.
Tournament proceeds benefit the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism, which is hosting the event along with Florida Sea Grant, Lee County Parks & Recreation and volunteers. A portion of proceeds also goes to the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail.