Teams will be fishing for a good cause on Friday. The Casey Cares Rockfish Tournament raises money for children with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Rockfish Tournament Anglers to Rally Around Critically Ill Kids

This Friday, more than 30 boats and their fishing gear will get underway in Kent Island, taking part in the seventh annual Casey Cares Rockfish Tournament.

Anglers will compete for that first prize rockfish, at the same time raising funds for the Maryland-based nonprofit Casey Cares, which provides uplifting programs to critically ill children and their families.

Each year, Casey Cares gives away tens of thousands of experiences like sports games, concert tickets, and movie nights, to make life a little more fun for child patients, their parents, and siblings amid the stress of medical care. They also provide colorful pajamas for children who are hospital bound, helping them to feel more comfortable.

This Friday’s tournament starts in the morning, and when all the entrants have caught and submitted their best fish, they’ll return to a rocking post-tournament Captain’s Party at the Inn at Chesapeake Bay Beach Club with dinner, drinks and live music.

The tournament, entering its seventh successful year, was the brainstorm of Casey Cares board member John Sovero. He also created a Captain’s Challenge that engages each competing boat to help raise money for Casey Cares programs. Any boat that raises $10,000 or more for Casey Cares will fish for free in the 2025 tournament. Going into the tournament, defense contractor Justin Burns is blowing away the competition with over $21,000 raised. Anyone can contribute to the Captain’s Challenge here.

One of the tournament teams entered is a boat full of St. Paul’s School for Boys high schoolers from Baltimore County. Nine students and the faculty advisor for the St. Paul’s Fishing Club will head out from Kentmorr Marina with Natural Light Charters on Friday morning.

A group of St. Paul’s School students fishes for Casey Cares. Photo courtesy of Bob Elder

St. Paul’s rising senior Peyton Elder will compete in the tournament for the second year in a row. With support from their parents, 17-year-old Elder and his fellow fishing club members started organizing their tournament boat back in February. “We thought, ‘Why not start a boat with a bunch of high school friends to fish in this tournament and help raise money for a great cause?'”

The teammates reached out to friends and family for donations, bringing in nearly $3,000 for families dealing with significant childhood illness. “I hope that it’s a fun experience on the water with my classmates,” Elder tells us. “It should be fun fishing and raising money at the same time.”

With new, stricter striped bass fishing limits in place for 2024, the Casey Cares tournament is laying out new rules for its “largest fish” competition. Anglers can put lines in at 5:30 a.m. and out at 2 p.m., using hook and line. All boats must have a ruler and a full deck of playing cards on board. A large fish being submitted must be measured on the ruler and photographed at three different angels with a playing card included. As always, DNR regulations must be followed, with anglers being allowed to keep one fish per person, with a minimum length of 19 inches and a maximum length of 24 inches.

May the best fish win.