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Redfish Classic to fundraise for marine science students

The FGCU Fishing Club will be hosting its third annual Fallen Eagle Redfish Classic on Feb. 21 out of Fish Tale Marina on Fort Myers Beach.

The nonprofit fishing tournament was created in memoriam of a fallen Eagle, Jesse M. Woodyard.
Woodyard passed away unexpectedly on March 11, 2014. After his passing, a group of Woodyard’s friends hosted a backyard redfish tournament to help raise money to pay off his student loans and funeral expenses. The 2014 Jesse M. Woodyard Redfish Classic raised $5,000. So the following year, Woodyard’s friends and family decided to make the event pubic as a means to create a legacy for Woodyard in the community.

In its first year as a public event, the tournament raised $14,000. The funds were subsequently donated to FGCU to create the Jesse M. Woodyard Academic Scholarship. The scholarship was endowed on May 7, 2015 and exists to financially assist a marine science major each year.

Today, the tournament has a different name — the Fallen Eagle Redfish Classic. Last year’s Fallen Eagle Redfish Classic was held on Feb. 22, 2015. Seventy-three boats competed for more than $7,000 in cash prizes.

This year’s event entails a $150 entry fee for a boat of up to three people and costs $50 for each additional person. The tournament payout will be 70 percent of the total entry fees collected.

Each boat will also be allowed to enter in an optional 100 percent payout Calcutta for an extra $50.

All boats will be allowed to weigh in two live redfish between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., with an honor start at 7 a.m. The captains’ meeting will be held the night before the tournament from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m Saturday, Feb. 20 at Alico Family Golf off Alico Road in Fort Myers. Registration will end at 7 p.m., followed by any final announcements and an overview of the tournament rules. Any interested anglers can register and pay the entry fee online at falleneagleredfishclassic.com.

To compete, at least one member from each team has to be at the captains’ meeting Saturday night.
The weigh in will be open to the public from 1 p.m. until 6 p.m Sunday, Feb. 21. There will be a couple of live bands, a silent auction and raffles. The event is also being catered by Lee Roy Selmon’s, which is providing a buffet. Food is provided free of charge for all anglers, but spectators and anyone else at the event can buy a buffet wristband for $10. A limited number of the FGCU Fishing Club’s long sleeve performance tournament shirts will also be on sale for $40.

For more information, you can find both the FGCU Fishing Club and the Fallen Eagle Redfish Classic on Facebook.

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