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Guy Harvey Outpost Hosting Herman Lucerne Memorial Kick-Off Party and Awards Dinner
From the early 1970s till the early 90s, Dr. Lloyd Wruble fished the remote waters of the Everglades back country twice weekly with a mentor who’d been roaming the region well before it became a national park in 1947. Herman Lucerne– the former Florida City mayor and pioneer citrus grower nicknamed Mr. Everglades–introduced Wruble, a Miami oral surgeon, to the winding mangrove labyrinth of Hells Bay where the two endured extreme heat, relentless mosquitoes, and menacing reptiles for the exhilaration of catching monster snook.
“He showed me a lot I didn’t know,” Wruble said of Lucerne. “We were prepared to stay all night– mosquito suits and all that.”
Being unable to explore some of the park’s narrowest inland passages in Lucerne’s wide motorboat prompted Wruble to procure a 16-foot aluminum craft with a 70-horsepower Yamaha capable of penetrating creeks only as wide as stairwells and plying flats less than a foot deep. There they caught plenty of other game fish — tarpon, bonefish, snapper, black and red drum, sea trout and even black bass where the ‘Glades waters ran fresh enough. In the days before GPS and reliable cell phone service, the pair were the envy of South Florida sport anglers who longed to plumb their secret spots but were daunted by the perils and discomfort.
In 1992, Lucerne died in the aftermath of devastating Hurricane Andrew. But Wruble kept fishing on his own and eventually introduced up-and-comers such as captain Rick Murphy, now host of television’s Chevy Florida Insider Fishing Report, to the hardships and rewards of Hells Bay and the Everglades.
In 2001, Wruble held the first Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Fishing Championship to honor his friend’s pioneering fishing legacy. The 2015 edition slated for Sept. 18-20 will host more than 70 angler teams competing to catch and release all seven eligible species –snook; tarpon; bonefish; sea trout; snapper; red drum; and either black drum or black bass–on bait, lures or fly tackle within Everglades National Park. No prize money will be awarded; proceeds benefit the park. The Islander, a Guy Harvey Outpost Resort in Islamorada, will host the Sept. 18 kick-off party and the Sept. 20 awards dinner.
Logging all seven species will be fun to try, but tough to accomplish.
“They have to time the tides and have to pre-plan where to go at what time,” Wruble said. “Knock off the easy ones first and save time to go after the more difficult ones. Bonefish is usually the toughest. It’s very difficult to do, but every year we have several anglers that get all seven species.”
The angler who measures, photographs and releases the greatest total length of all seven will be crowned grand champion. Trophies will be awarded in numerous other categories as well. Co-hosting the event are fishing celebrities Flip Pallot, Chico Fernandez, C.A. Richardson and Rick Murphy.