What makes a winning combination? Try this formula and what do you get:
The Florida Keys + Fishing + Miami Hurricanes + A Good Cause = Success.
The University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame held their annual Canesfish fishing tournament in Islamorada this past weekend. The event was a huge success as a floatilla of around 80 boats were officially entered in the tournament that is gaining serious popularity among former Miami Hurricane football players, UM fans and the South Florida fishing community at-large.
On Friday night I had the opportunity, along with over 500 other hard core Hurricane fans, to attend the Captain's Meeting at the Ocean View Pub and Inn, which just happens to be owned by former UM football player and Pittsburgh Steeler Gary Dunn.
Known to the locals as simply "The OV", it is a cozy, casual and always welcoming nine-room Inn that is adjacent to the Pub where friendly staff, great views, good food and cold drinks are always readily accessible.
The natural salt water pool with waterfall is surrounded by tropical plants and comfortable seating areas that provide a lovely backdrop to the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico just beyond the mangroves. Sunsets are a popular daily event that both tourists and the locals flock to The OV to see.
Some guy I never heard of who supposedly played for the Hurricanes and the Baltimore Ravens named "Ray Lewis" was the Honorary Host for this years event. Apparently, this Lewis guy is a pretty big deal based on the large entourage around him that tried to keep the crazed crowd somewhat at bay from the popular player.
The large crowd seemed to follow him from place to place, desperate for a photo or autograph. He very graciously tried to oblige as many of the fans as he could but in the end it was hopeless.
Someone in the gathering crowd even said that this Lewis guy was the Super Bowl MVP last year, but I wasn't buying any of that nonsense.
Last year some big dude named Warren Sapp hosted the event. I never heard of him either but he was also very popular and very largely present at this year's event where he comfortably mingled among the crowd and took several photos with adoring fans in the relaxed, "Keys Casual" setting.
The tournament participants actually stayed just across the street from The OV at the newly renovated Post Card Inn. This is where the awards dinner was held on Saturday evening and also where the weigh-in and fishing boats left from the Famous Islamorada fishing docks.
If you have never been to what has traditionally been known as the famous Holiday Isle location, it is just a beautiful. The famous tiki bars that serve the infamous Rum Runners (with a 151 shot) and the beaches and sandbar area just offshore are something everyone should experience during their lives.
Trust me when I tell you to put this on your bucket list. No really, trust me!
Finally, from the looks of this photo, UM athletic Director Blake James and his team did pretty well, hooking and boating a 29 pound dolphin for his team.
Now, go and filet that, dip it in some egg and bread crumbs, and fry it up!