To show our troops our sincere gratitude for their bravery, honor, dedication and willingness to give their all, we take our soldiers fishing!
Naples Take A Soldier Fishing is a 501c3, non-profit organization that supports the brave men and women serving in the United States Armed Services. Each September, for over 10 years, a local group of 70 passionate fishing captains and anglers host over 150 active duty combat soldiers and wounded combat veterans to fish both the inshore and offshore waters of beautiful Naples, Fl.
Through donations from local businesses, personal donations, and our various fundraising events, we raise the necessary funds to put on the largest charity fishing tournament in Southwest Florida. Our board is 100% volunteer, comprised of local individuals who care deeply about our country and the men and women who put themselves in harms way to defend the freedoms we cherish here in America. All monies raised, or products donated, directly fund the weekend events, which include luxury lodging, gourmet meals, entertainment, transportation, and awards for our troops. All the captains who participate in our event happily donate their time, expertise, fuel, and equipment. Our tournament is by invitation only. This allows us to maintain the integrity and original purpose of our organization. Our aim is to show our troops how much we appreciate everything they do for our country, and give them an opportunity to relax and decompress from their stressful lives.
The troops are treated like the “Rock Stars” they are as soon as they arrive in Naples. They receive a three night “5 Star” accommodation at the Naples Grande Beach Resort, located directly on the the Gulf of Mexico. The troops and the volunteer guides from the community are invited to the official Captain’s Meeting held in the ballroom of the Naples Grande to begin the festivities. All expenses are covered for the troops throughout their stay with us. Here, the troops meet the captains they will be fishing with during the tournament held on Saturday. After the meal, entertainment is provided to show our gratitude for their service.
Friday is designated as a “Free day” for our troops to enjoy the beautiful beaches, pools, or golfing that the luxury resort has to offer. Our soldiers take this much needed time to unwind from their stressful, demanding schedules of military life. Many have just returned to the states from an overseas deployment, and are in need of some rest and relaxation. We provide them with this opportunity.
Saturday is Tournament day. The troops are transported by Dolphin Transportation in luxury motor coaches, and escorted by the Collier County Sheriff’s Department to Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club where the boats will depart. After a brief prayer, and singing of the national anthem, everyone in attendance is wowed by a spectacular arial flyover by the CCSO helicopter flying our Stars and Stripes. This signifies the start of the friendly competition of our fishing tournament. Our captains are evenly divided between offshore and inshore divisions. Each and every angling team experiences the thrill of the “Live Weigh-in” when they return to the dock after their day on the water. A champion in both divisions is then crowned. After the weigh-in, the troops reboard the buses and return to the Naples Grande Resort to get freshened up for the awards banquet held in the main ballroom. There everyone is treated to a fabulous dinner as they swap fishing stories from earlier that day. The top placing teams each receive custom, one of a kind trophies which they keep, but more importantly, they own the bragging rights for the next year to come.