In 2024, South Seas continues its phased reopening with new food & beverage outlets, additional accommodations, and enhanced resort amenities.
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The 2024 South Seas Tarpon Tournament: A Tribute to Heroes

May 21, 2024

Captiva Island was abuzz this May as the 2024 South Seas Tarpon Tournament brought together anglers, veterans, and families for a cause close to many hearts.

The event benefitted Folds of Honor, a nonprofit dedicated to providing educational scholarships to families of fallen and disabled veterans and first responders. This tournament, the first of its kind at South Seas, not only showcased the bountiful waters of Captiva but also underscored a profound commitment to those who have sacrificed for our country.

 

Folds of Honor: A Legacy of Sacrifice and Support

Folds of Honor was founded in 2007 by Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot, who was moved by the poignant sight of a fallen soldier’s family receiving his remains. This moment sparked Rooney’s mission to ensure that no family is left behind on the field of battle. Folds of Honor provides scholarships to the families of America’s fallen and disabled service members and first responders, offering hope and educational opportunities in the face of profound loss.

   

Honoring Service and Supporting Families

The decision by South Seas to host this year’s tournament was rooted in the organization’s deep ties to military service. Led by Timbers Company CEO Greg Spencer, a veteran himself, the company’s commitment to supporting veterans’ families is unwavering. Through this philanthropic tournament, South Seas aimed to make a tangible difference in the local community, funding scholarships for Folds of Honor recipients locally in Lee County, Florida.

 

A Memorable Weekend of Events

The South Seas Tarpon Tournament commenced with the Thursday night captain’s dinner at Deep Lagoon Seafood. Captains gathered to socialize and familiarize themselves with the tournament rules, setting the stage for a day of competitive, yet friendly fishing.

Friday morning dawned early, with participants embarking at 6:30 AM into the promising waters around Captiva. Known for its excellent tarpon fishing, the area did not disappoint. As anglers cast their lines, the spirit of camaraderie and friendly competition was palpable.

The evening brought everyone back together for a dinner generously donated by MISSION BBQ. The relaxed atmosphere was enhanced by beachy tunes and a stunning Captiva sunset, the perfect backdrop for heartfelt speeches. Lee County Commissioner Cecil Pendergrass opened the evening, followed by Timbers CEO Greg Spencer, who shared a moving story of a close friend lost in service and the effect of the loss on his young family. His personal connection to the cause underscored the importance of Folds of Honor’s mission.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly a speech by Ashlyn McCain, a Folds of Honor scholarship recipient. Ashlyn recounted cherished memories of fishing with her father, Sergeant First Class Jonathan B. McCain, who was tragically killed in action. Her poignant story of loss and the support she received from Folds of Honor deeply moved the audience, inspiring many to contribute even more generously.

The tournament awards were presented by longtime friend of South Seas Captain Mike Anderson, host of the popular program Reel Animals Fishing Show. As a U.S. Air Force veteran and proud supporter of Folds of Honor himself, Mike’s presence added a sense of inspiration and camaraderie to the event, celebrating both the spirit of the tournament and its noble cause.

On Saturday, children enjoyed a fishing activity and carnival, complete with face painting, shaved ice, inflatables, and custom balloon creations. Watching kids catch their first fish, with proud parents cheering them on and dolphins breaching just feet from the fishing pier, was a heartwarming sight.

   

$200,000 Raised for 40 Scholarships

The success of the 2024 South Seas Tarpon Tournament was made possible by the generous sponsors, donors, and participants who came together for a shared cause. We extend heartfelt thanks to all who contributed, from organizations that donated impressive auction prizes, to the local businesses that contributed significantly to our fundraising efforts, to individual donors. Together, the contributions raised $200,000, funding 40 educational scholarships for families in Lee County, surpassing the fundraising goal of the tournament and creating lasting impacts for those who have sacrificed so much.

 

Looking Ahead to 2025

We are excited to announce that plans for next year’s tournament are already in motion. Mark your calendars for Memorial Day weekend, when South Seas will once again welcome anglers and families for another unforgettable tournament, continuing the tradition of honoring and supporting our nation’s heroes. We look forward to seeing you there, ready to cast your line to support a noble cause.

 

Thank You to our 2024 Sponsors

 

Tarpon Sponsorship

  • MKH Architecture
  • Curran Young Construction
  • Marine Max
  • Wheelock

 

Snook Sponsorship

  • Timbers Company
  • Ronto Group

 

Redfish Sponsorship

  • Brightwater Strategies

 

Grouper Sponsorship

  • Aquatic Development Group
  • Barraco
  • Brightview
  • Crown Linen
  • Spalding Restoration
  • Gary Johnson
  • Suncoast Beverage
  • Lowdes Law
  • HONC Destruction

 

Snapper Sponsorship

  • Stewart Island Construction
  • Cintas
  • Stokes Marine
  • Youngquist Brothers
  • SESCO Lighting
  • Brittania Electric
  • Caloosa Wholesale
  • Banks Design
  • Target Roofing