For nine years running, organizers of one island-based fishing event have dedicated themselves to helping save lives. For nearly a decade, anglers from throughout Lee County have come to Matlacha to participate in the David Lee Root Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament. This year, as in years past, funds generated by the tournament will benefit the Trauma Center at Lee Memorial Hospital.
The Trauma Center at Lee Memorial is the only certified Level II Trauma Center located between Tampa and Miami and is dedicated to serving residents and visitors to Lee County. Operational 24-hours a day, the Trauma Center is fully staffed by full-time trauma surgeons, nurses, technicians and respiratory therapists. This team of professionals provide life-saving treatment to those in critical need.
This year's tournament will take place Saturday, July 9, at D&D Matlacha Bait and Tackle in Matlacha and is sponsored in part by Sam Galloway Auto, Private Client Insurance Service and Lee Memorial Health System Foundation. The catch, photo and release tournament is open to anglers of all ages. Adult entry will be $50 per person and children 12 and under can participate for $25. Entry fee includes free access to the boat launch facility at D&D, parking, tournament T-sheet and the barbecue following the final weigh-in. Others who would like to purchase tickets to enjoy the barbecue can do so for $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Top finishers of the event will be awarded cash prizes in three categories, which include redfish, snook and trout.
A mandatory captain's meeting will be held at D&D Matlacha Bait and Tackle located on Pine Island Road in Matlacha on the evening of July 8. At this meeting the captains and other participants will have a light dinner and receive instruction with regards to the tournament rules.
During the final weigh-in, which is scheduled to take place at the docks of D&D Bait and Tackle, visitors and spectators are welcome to join in on the festivities that will take place throughout the afternoon. As the excitement builds at the scales and on the scoreboard, participants and visitors can enjoy the bountiful barbecue, an assortment of beverages and more. in addition to 50/50 raffles, those in attendance can also place bids on auction items that range from tackle boxes to fishing charters and work from local artists to over-night stays at area lodgings.
The hosts of the event, David and Debbie Root of D&D Bait and Tackle, began dedicating the tournament in the memory of their late son David. David Lee Root Jr. lost his life due in an automobile accident in St. James City on July 4, 2001, at the age of 18. During the early years of the tournament, money raised was donated to the Matlacha-Pine Island Fire Control District to purchase first-response life saving equipment which is still carried on department equipment today. In recent years, the proceeds were re-allocated to the Trauma Center and last year the event raised in excess of $30,000.
What:9th annual David Lee Root Jr. Memorial Fishing
When: Saturday, July 9
Where: D&D Bait and Tackle Matlacha
Why: To benefit the Trauma Center at Lee
For more information about the 9th annual David Lee Root Jr. Memorial Fishing Tournament, call D&D Bait and Tackle at 282-9122 or visit davidlerootmemorial.com