Redbone family

KEY WEST, Fla. — For the Collier family, competing in the Redbone celebrity fishing tournament series has special meaning.

Cal Collier Sr. and his sons Cal Jr. and David love fishing together, which made the brothers' team title in Sunday's Mercury Southernmost Light-Tackle Anglers Masters (SLAM) Tournament extra special.

"We fish together a lot," David said. "When you're fishing with family, it makes for good team dynamics out there."

The Redbone series was created by Capt. Gary Ellis of Islamorada, who was looking for a way to raise money for cystic fibrosis research after his daughter Nicole was diagnosed with the disease.

From the Redbone in Islamorada to the SLAM in Key West to the Baybone in Key Largo, the series has expanded to tournaments all over the United States and in the Bahamas, raising millions of dollars to help find a cure for CF.

Cal Jr., of Atlanta, had first planned to fish a Redbone event in Montauk, N.Y., with David, of Old Greenwich, Conn., in 2001. Then 9/11 happened before the event and the tournament was canceled. Three months later, Cal's son William, now 8, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

"Now we fish between three and six Redbone tournaments a year," said Cal Jr., 42, who got a Redbone event started in Sea Island, Ga., and whose brother is involved with the Montauk event.

"We're big supporters of it. The guides give up so much. In a tough economy, the guides give up a day [donating their services to the tournaments] and that means a lot, especially to our family."

The brothers got their start in fishing from their father, who lives in Lake Forest, Ill. Cal Sr. started fishing in Florida in the late 1970s and took each of his sons on a fishing trip to the Keys and he also took their younger sister. That's where Cal Jr. and David got hooked on flats fishing.

"It's a common passion and families need that," Cal Sr. said. "My grandfather started me on fishing and I'm working on the grandkids now."

Cal Jr. and David both played football and baseball in high school and college and they've excelled in the Redbone events, having won some team and individual titles. David and his father have also teamed to win tournaments.

Cal Jr. won the Superfly event Friday for the second consecutive year fishing with Capt. Justin Rea, who guided the Collier brothers Saturday and Sunday.

Anglers only fly-fish in the Superfly and Cal Jr. caught two tarpon and five bonefish for 1,400 points. He also broke off two tarpon and caught a sixth bonefish that was a quarter of an inch short of the minimum size limit. His father was second in the Superfly with two bonefish and 400 points. Cal Sr. caught one bonefish on fly in the SLAM.

The biggest surprise in the SLAM, according to David, was he caught two slams and his brother one.

"He's the better angler," David said of Cal Jr. "I just try to keep up."

Steve Waters is the outdoors writer for the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. Read more of his stories at sunsentinel.com/outdoors