2008 G.I.F.T Tournament


 Capt. Billy Hathcock

    Capt. Dad’s Vision

2008 Results

   Twelve years ago the late Capt. Billy Hathcock, (AKA Capt. Dad) suggested that our recently opened Fly Shop (Gasparilla Outfitters) host a fly fishing tournament.
   It seems just like yesterday that we were hanging out in his tackle room debating the merits of competitive fly fishing. It was an unusual dicussion because I love fishing tournaments, but didn’t think a fly fishing tournament was necessarily a good idea, and Billy wasn’t fond of tournaments, but thought this was something we should do.
    Capt. Dad always could surprise you with some wisdom that was not always appearant at first glance.
    He said he had already thought it through, picked out the events name and solved the issue of whether competitive fishing was something a “fly guy” would want to do. We were supposed to just say OK and make it happen.
    He had decided all this before he ever brought it up to me.
    Before I could really make an argument, he continued. He said his vision was simple…this event wouldn’t be so much about competition, big money and bragging rights. It would be about doing a little something for the community. It would promote our great fishing, and having a good time fly fishing with friends would be a bonus. 
    I still wasn’t convinced that a Fly Tournament would, excuse me, “Fly”.  As I tried to question him, he basicly said to just shut up and listen, in a pleasent, Capt. Dad sort of way.
    He knew that fall fly fishing was good and that in keeping with the spirit of the season, hosting the event Thanksgiving week would be the thing to do.
    And then he said…”and I have the perfect name, The Gasparilla Island Flyfishing Tournament… “G.I.F.T” …get it?”
   I remember that conversation so clearly, which in itself is odd, since I can never remember what day the trash goes out… Billy sitting behind his reel repair bench on a stool with parts everywhere, Higgins barking upstairs, and even the look in his eyes that said “…are you that dense? You’ve got to do this”. 
   So here we are twelve years later and Billy’s vision continues to benefit the local community. Over the years, with the support of so many people, we’ve been able to raise ten’s of thousands of dollars for local groups like the Island School, The Boca Grande Child Care Center, Amber Lake Wildlife Refuge, The Boca Grande Historical Society among others. 
   This year all proceeds from the G.I.F.T. Tournament will benefit the Boca Grande Health Care Clinic. You can support this event by attending our Cocktail Party/Captains Meeting/Raffle on Monday evening, 6 pm at PJ’s Seagrille. Tickets are $35 dollars at the door or can be purchased in advance at Gasparilla Outfitters or at the Clinic. PJ’s is once again providing great Hor’s d oeuvres and we will have an open bar. You don’t need to be a fly fisherman to attend, just come out for a fun time and a great cause!
     If you would like to “compete” in the tournament, stop by or call Gasparilla Outfitters at 964-0907 for full details.
~Capt. Sandy Melvin

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