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Casting Hope: South Seas Tarpon Tournament raises over $150k for families of fallen soldiers

Posted at 10:57 PM, May 17, 2024

CAPTIVA, Fla. — As Captiva continues to rebuild in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the community is seeing progress at the South Seas Resort.

Earlier this week, our own Amy Wegmann provided an in-depth look at the progress already made at the resort. She highlighted the future plans, including the opening of new restaurants, the construction of a new hotel, and a lineup of additional events. Among these are a triathlon scheduled for September and seasonal activities planned for Christmas, New Year's, and the Fourth of July.

Despite ongoing reconstruction, there are already new attractions drawing visitors to this part of the island. One such event is the newly established fishing tournament, which saw 34 teams of fishermen compete to catch as many tarpon as possible.

"This stretch of the west coast of Florida is certainly the Tarpon Fishing capital of the world," said Michael Anderson, host of Reel Animals TV.

Boat captain Andre Luttana shared the same opinion as he guided us to Boca Grande, where the majority of competitors engaged in the catch-and-release tarpon competition.

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The tournament offered a cash prize derived from a percentage of the entry fees, with the remaining funds supporting a noble cause.

A significant portion of the entry fees was donated to Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization founded 17 years ago by a friend of Greg Spencer, CEO of Timbers Resorts, which manages South Seas Resort. Spencer shared the emotional story behind the organization’s creation.

"He basically came up with the idea watching a casket come off of an airplane when he was returning from Iraq," Spencer explained. "He said, 'Hey, that could be my family, I have five daughters,' and it really hit him."

The tournament successfully raised over $150,000 for Folds of Honor, which provides scholarships to families of fallen or disabled military personnel and first responders.

Ashlyn McCain, a scholarship recipient and speaker for Folds of Honor, shared her personal story of loss and the impact of the organization's support.

"I also go over the time of when I lost my dad," McCain said, "and that experience as an army brat opening the door to those two military men in uniform there to break the news that my dad was killed in Afghanistan. So I give them a little window into that world that no one wants to be a part of."'

Spencer announced that next year's South Seas Tarpon Tournament will be held on Memorial Day to better align with the cause.