Fishing: Grouper Grab tournament returns Aug. 17-18

— The annual Grouper Grab returns to Southwest Florida on Aug. 17-18 to offer participants a shot at $10,000 in cash prizes. Now in its 13th year, the tournament is centered around the popular offshore species of grouper and snapper.

“The Grouper Grab is a fun tournament,” tournament director Kristi Riley said. “Yes, there is serious competition but this is not your typical offshore tournament like on the other coast or down in the Keys.”

Teams of four will compete will depart from the Port Sanibel Marina at 6 a.m. to bring back their five largest fish — three grouper and two snapper. This year the field will be split into two divisions depending on the size of the vessel: over or under 30 feet.

“Each year when we begin the planning for the Grouper Grab, we listen to our anglers, look for ways to improve the event and strive to keep it fair to all participating,” Riley said. “In the past it’s been a challenge for smaller boats to compete against larger boats with multiple motors. With this change we hope to see many more teams come out and fish that may have simply thought they had no chance in previous years.”

Last year’s event was limited by the closure of gag grouper but directors expect the relaxed rules this year will make for a very competitive tournament.

“Last year there was a ban on grouper but we improvised allowing other species to be caught in its place,” Riley said. “This year the closure has been lifted and we are excited to have the original format back.”

All proceeds from the tournament will benefit Blessing in a Backpack of Lee County, a charitable organization that provides meals to needy children.

For more information or to register, go to www.thegroupergrab.com.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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