The two were joined by 48 others in the Islamorada, Fla., invitation-only ninth annual George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament. The event is held Nov. 19-21, with a gala dinner Tuesday night and fishing Wednesday and Thursday. As in previous years, Bush competed in the tournament and presented trophies to the winners. The other anglers had the chance to swap stories about "the one that got away" with the president during the festivities.
Bush has never won his namesake tournament but he took second place in 1999. In the years since, he hasn't been able to hook at least one fish.
The entry fee is $2,500 per angler. The charity event raises money for the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation in College Station, Texas, and Tarpon and the Bonefish Unlimited, a south Florida-based organization dedicated to tagging, studying and protecting tarpon and bonefish.
Three competitive divisions are offered in the tournament: General, Spin and Fly, with a range of points awarded, depending on the division. Trophies are awarded for first and second place, largest fish, most releases, largest permit and team points.
The tournament was created in 1994 as a political fund-raiser for George's son Jeb, who was then running for governor of Florida.
Bonefish are built for speed. The torpedo-shaped fish have an underslung mouth — featuring a longer lip, enabling them to feed on the bottom. They are known for their strength, speed and wariness.
With little food value, all bonefish caught in the Keys are released to fight another day.