Redbone Charters with Capt. Gary Ellis

Islamorada Flats Fishing | Charter Fishing | Backcountry Charters


Capt. Gary Ellis with IGFA Award

Capt. Gary Ellis Congressional Record

Ellis Honored With Coveted IGFA Award

A veteran Florida Keys fishing guide, who developed a series of angling tournaments that has raised millions of dollars for the fight against cystic fibrosis, has been honored by the International Game Fish Association.

Founder of the Redbone tournament series, Captain Gary Ellis received the Tommy Gifford Award at the 2014 IGFA Hall of Fame banquet. The award recognizes honorees in IFGA’s fraternity of Legendary Captains & Crew.

According to the IGFA website, primary criteria for nominees include leadership in their trade, having earned respect of their peers and having made meaningful contributions to recreational angling over an extended period of time.

The Redbone was born in the late 1980s, after Islamorada residents Gary and Susan Ellis’s daughter Nicole was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system.

Gary Ellis wanted to create a charity program and was encouraged by Major League Baseball hall-of-famer Ted Williams to build a CF fundraising event around what he knew best – fishing.

In 1988, the Ellis couple began the Redbone (named for the target species redfish and bonefish), a local celebrity-filled backcountry tournament, in Islamorada. During their first effort, they raised $16,000 for CF.

Now, 27 years later, that first tournament has evolved into 25 annual angling competitions, staged around the U.S. and Bahamas, that have raised almost $20 million for cystic fibrosis research and treatment.

Gifford, who died in 1970, is considered by sportfishing experts as one of the world’s most innovative bluewater anglers and among the greatest charterboat skippers. He served as guide and consultant to some of the most famous names in saltwater angling including Ernest Hemingway, Michael Lerner, Charlie Lehman and Van Campen Heilner.

IGFA Honorees

IGFA Announces Fourth Annual Legendary Captains & Crews Honorees

Captains and crews are as much a part of the tapestry of game fishing as anglers and fish – and the truly great among them have woven some of the most distinct and impressive eras in our sport. On February 15, 2014 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, Florida, USA, the IGFA will honor the fourth class of extraordinary seafarers who hail from Australia, Puerto Rico, and the United States, but have made a mark on fishing all over the world.

The Fourth Annual Legendary Captains & Crews Awards Ceremony will recognize Captains and Crews that have contributed to sport fishing by invention, outstanding catch or catches, or have set an outstanding example of their trade. Recipients are bestowed with the Tommy Gifford Award, named for the one of the greatest saltwater charter skippers of all time. The 2014 honorees include:

  • Capt. Mike Benitez
  • Capt. Gary Ellis
  • Capt. Bill Hatch
  • Capt. Bouncer Smith
  • Capt. Dennis "Braazaka" Wallace
  • Capt.Skip Smith and IGFA Hall of Fame member Mark Sosin will emcee the event, which will begin at 6 pm on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Tickets begin at $75 and table packages are available. To reserve your seat, please contact Marissa Mackel at 954-924-4236 or

    To learn more about the 2014 event of past honorees, please visit our website.

    Redbone Charters
    PO Box 273
    Islamorada, FL 33036

    (305) 664-2002 or
    (305) 664-7882
    Fax: (305) 664-9036

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