Get the Stu Apte Edge in the Blazing Mako

March 3, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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StuBy Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

A little over one year ago at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, a handful of luminaries from the sport fishing industry, including Dr. Guy Harvey, assembled in a meeting hall to roast Stu Apte– then 84 years old. They cracked goofy and ribald jokes about his age, health, crankiness, fishing abilities, and anything else they could think of in the way of deprecating humor.  Apte was a good sport throughout and even came back with some witty barbs of his own.

Fast-forward to March 2016 and you will find that the leading pioneer of light tackle and fly rod fishing in the Florida Keys and beyond has slowed down not a whit.  The 85-year-old former fishing guide and airline pilot recently won one of the top awards in a prestigious Islamorada back country fishing tournament competing against anglers one-quarter his age.  He’s introducing a new line of signature fly rods from 4- to 13-weight by Tycoon Tackle and new signature fly reels by 3-TAND.  He’ll celebrate his 15th wedding anniversary with wife Jeannine in May, followed by a ten-day fishing trip to Cuba.

But Apte will be back in Islamorada just in time to fish with YOU (!!!) –in the Blazing Mako Tournament and Festival on Father’s Day weekend June 16-19 at the Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort.

The Blazing Mako is conducting an auction where the highest bidder will get to fish the one-day back country tournament June 18 with Apte and one of his favorite Islamorada guides, veteran captain Steve Thomas.  With Thomas poling the skiff and pointing out fish, and Apte coaching (or not), your chances of winning cash and trophies in this catch-measure-photograph-release competition increase exponentially.


            With optimum fishing conditions expected in June, you should be able to find plenty of tarpon, snook, and other inshore species, according to Apte, who promises not to be a fish hog.

“They are going to be on the casting platform,” Apte said of the auction winner.  “I’m going to help them.  I’ll back them up with a spinning rod.  If they want me to demonstrate on fly rod, I’ll do it.  Whatever makes them happy.  I’m really excited.”

Money raised from the auction will benefit marine science scholarships at Nova Southeastern University’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

‘Fish whisperer’ won’t be Apte’s only function at the Blazing Mako.  He’ll join other top local guides at a seminar at Angler House Marina, where inshore tournament boats will launch. And he will dedicate his signature cocktail — the Stu Apte Rum Dumb Boogie Punch–as the event’s official beverage.

In the unlikely event that you are not familiar with Apte’s fishing credentials:

-Since the 1950’s, he has held more than 44 saltwater light tackle and fly rod world records.

– He’s a member of the Fishing Hall of Fame (1969); the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame (2005); and the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame (2012).

– His Stu Apte tarpon fly adorned a U.S postage stamp in 1991.

-He has written numerous fishing articles for national and regional publications; published three books; and appeared in scores of television fishing programs.

Best of all, Apte developed the “down-and-dirty” style of fighting large tarpon– an effective technique to shorten the battle by pulling the fish in the opposite direction of where it wants to go.

Be the top bidder, and learn this and other tricks from the master himself.

Don’t miss out on this chance to fish with one of the world’s true mater anglers – Stu Apte! Go HERE now to bid!


 Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 


        Share your photos, videos and experiences with Guy Harvey Outpost by hash tagging #OutpostAttitude to all of your social media posts.

Taking the Back Country in the Blazing Mako

February 16, 2016 at 10:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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BlackBy Sue Cocking, Guy Harvey Outpost staff writer

Even though the Guy Harvey Outpost Blazing Mako Festival and Fishing Tournament is still four months away, it’s not too early to sign up your team or start plotting a strategy for claiming $10,000 in prize money– particularly if you enter the inshore division.

The tournament date of June 18 falls squarely during the peak of the inshore fishing season in and around the Florida Keys and two days before the full moon. Catching, measuring, photographing and releasing the eligible back country species of permit, bonefish, tarpon, snook, redfish and the funfish category of shark, ladyfish, jack and trout for points, cash, and bragging rights won’t be as challenging as during other seasons of the year.

Anglers will be allowed to enter a maximum of five fish in each category using live bait, artificial lures, or fly tackle. More points will be awarded for lures and fly rod.

“This is a great time of year to catch all these species,” said seven-year veteran Keys light-tackle guide captain Richard Black, who fishes from a 17-foot, 8-inch Hells Bay Professional skiff.

Black said his strategy would be to locate small tarpon first thing in the morning in Florida Bay– likely near Snake Bight– and fish with fly rod (if the angler were capable), or with small Mir-O-Lure plugs or light jigs. Snook and redfish tend to inhabit the same territory at that time of year and likely would bite the same offerings.

Once you’ve racked up enough points for those three species, Black says step two would be to blind-cast a jig or plug for ladyfish.  You could enter the larger ones in the funfish category and keep a few to hang off the skiff while anchored to attract lemon sharks to within fly-casting range.

“In a good spot with good current, you could catch five sharks on fly pretty quick,” Black said.

Then if you are lucky enough to have sufficient sunlight in mid- to late afternoon, the guide said, you could look for bonefish in Florida Bay or on the ocean side of the Upper Keys.  Bonefish almost never turn down fresh shrimp, and they also are likely to bite small jigs and shrimp-patterned flies.

“I know some anglers I’d lead off with fly and switch to bait,” Black added.  “You have to fish the conditions.  If conditions are crappy and you have to cover more water, you would use a spinning rod.”

Black  believes it will take 1,500 to 2,000 points to score a top-three finish.

Even if you don’t accumulate nearly that score, it will be more than fun to try and then you get to celebrate at the awards party at the Islander– a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort in Islamorada.


  Sue Cocking chronicles the Guy Harvey Outpost travel and adventure experience in regular blog posts on  For 21 years, Cocking covered the full spectrum of outdoors adventure opportunities in South Florida and beyond for the Miami Herald, including fishing, diving, hunting, paddling camping, sailing and powerboat racing.  She is a certified scuba diver and holder of an IGFA women’s world fly fishing record for a 29-pound permit. 


Share your photos, videos and experiences with Guy Harvey Outpost by hash tagging #OutpostAttitude to all of your social media posts.

Nova Southeastern University & Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts Present Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival

November 20, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Event Combines Fishing, Conservation, Research & Marine Science Scholarships

FORT LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla. – What do you get when you combine world-class fishing, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and world-renowned conservationist and artist Guy Harvey? A one-of-a-kind marine conservation festival and tournament in the Florida Keys!

NSU is proud to be part of the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, to be held in the sportfishing capital of the world – Islamorada – in the Florida Keys. The three-day event is scheduled for June 16-19 2016, with management provided by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts. Formerly named the Fort Lauderdale Billfish Tournament, the event has been moved to the historic Islander Resort for 2016, a Guy Harvey Outpost destination in Islamorada.

The event will include a premier, not-for-profit fishing tournament; innovative art exhibits featuring recycled materials, conservation organization displays and local vendors, all showcased in a 100 tent “Conchservation Village; cyber on-the-water release documentation for research using the IGHOfish App; and watersport demonstrations and competitions.

While there will be a fishing tournament as part of the event, like other Guy Harvey Outpost Bonfire series events, there is much more to the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival. Community engagement is at the heart of the weekend’s activities. The event will also aid in raising funds for marine sciences scholarships at the NSU’ Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, which is home to the Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center.

“Once again NSU and Guy Harvey are teaming up to help today’s students become tomorrow’s marine researchers and scientists,” said Richard Dodge, Ph.D., Dean of NSU’s Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. “We have a long-standing relationship with Dr. Harvey, and I am continually amazed at how much he wants to help students follow their dreams. This tournament promises to be fun, while at the same time continuing to add to Dr. Harvey’s legacy at NSU.”

The Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival, managed by Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts, has targeted a fundraising goal of $100,000.  NSU’s Halmos College of National Sciences and Oceanography, home to the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI), the Center of Excellence in Coral Reef Ecosystem Research and the Save Our Seas Shark Centre, will administer scholarship funds donated through the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF).

“This will be an event as much as a fishing tournament,” said Mark Ellert, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts.  “Like our other Bonfire series tournaments in the Bahamas, community engagement is a key and we have planned quite a weekend of activities that will stage an innovative ‘Conchservation’ Village to highlight ‘trash-to-treasure’ art exhibits and conservation efforts in the Florida Keys, live music, a trivia event and beach and wastersport competitions, a Rum Village and Kids Pier Fishing Tournament, fishing seminars and our traditional burning sculpture bonfire—this time a 15’ mako shark design beachside at the Islander Resort.”

The bonfire sculptures themselves have a conservation theme given that they are created out of recycled metal by various local artists.  Each sculpture is designed with a specific fish species unique to each destination. Well known Islamorada artist Pasta Pantaleo will design the Blazing Mako sculpture for the tournament and festival. Pantaleo, recognized around the world as a gamefish artist, operates a popular gallery, Pasta Pantaleo’s Signature Gallery, at mile marker 81.5.

The Blazing Mako tournament, named for NSU’s mascot — the mako shark — will encompass an inshore and offshore division. Corporate team registration (offshore) for the non-profit tournament is $5,000 per team (six anglers).  Inshore registration is also available for $2,500 (three anglers).  Larger boats (26’ and up) will be accommodated by the Post Card Inn Marina and smaller (25’ or less) by the Islander Bayside Townhomes. Internationally renowned sculptor Kent Ullberg, who designed the mako sculpture at the NSU main campus, has been commissioned to create a similarly designed perpetual trophy for the tournament.

Ellert said more than 100 vendor tents will be onsite along with fishing seminars provided by  professional and local guides, and free downloads of the iGHOFish app powered by iAngler that will allow anglers to log their catches, which can be used a valuable information for fisheries management.  In the case of the Blazing Mako tournament, the IGHOFish app will be used in documenting inshore and billfish catches along with photos and measurement before releasing the catches.

For more information on the Blazing Mako Tournament & Festival please visit

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