Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward reels in young anglers

It was a day of adventure and fun for the boys and girls spending time with their Big Brothers and Big Sisters at the 42nd annual Big Fish Tournament presented by the Moss Foundation. The Bahia Mar Yachting Center was the host site for the flotilla of 30 boats that ventured out of Port Everglades inlet for a morning of fishing, followed by the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County awards ceremony.

There were a record number 176 “Bigs” and “Littles” passengers on the boats. The boys and girls who are the benefactors of the event are referred to as “Littles”, while the “Bigs” are the Big Brothers and Big Sisters who volunteer their time to guide and mentor the children. The Big Fish Tournament is all about creating special memories for the participants ages 6 to 17.

For many of the children it was their first time fishing and being on a boat, so the volunteer captains did their best to make it a memorable occasion. The tournament co-chairpersons were board members Cheryl Seinfeld, and Trevor and Lauren Carroll.

Capt.  Paul Yates, Chimmerly Purcell Brown, Mya (Little) with her Big Erica Streit, Tikiya Hall, Peter (Little) and Tierlor (Little) prepare for a day of fishing.

(Littles Photography / Courtesy)

The organization supports one-on-one mentoring relationships to help children achieve their full potential.

“This is my second year as a co-chair and it was a little choppy out there for some of our passengers, but I did OK,” said Seinfeld who went out on presenting sponsor Chad Moss’s boat. “You learn something new every time you go out on a fishing boat. We had a record number of Littles and Bigs this year and are hoping to get more boats and captains next year. We keep stepping it up with more sponsors and participants. At the end of the day, it’s about all the kids and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Broward CEO Malena Mendez said she was pleased with the turnout and the support the nonprofit organization continues to receive from the community. She was especially impressed with how the Littles anglers performed in an environment they were not accustomed to.

Christian (Little) with his Big Brother Benjamin Brown, shows off the donated rod and reel fishing gear at the award ceremony at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center.

(Littles Photography / Courtesy)

“We had a couple of green ones, but they were troopers and hung in there,” Mendez said. “They were so happy to be out there, and it was worth it. Every Little was being supported by a Big or a guardian. Cheryl (Seinfeld) was out on the boat and did not get green and had some great sea legs and Lauren (Carroll) is the owner of Bistro Mezzaluna who hosted our captains reception.”

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The Biggest Fish category was won by “Little” Trumari who reeled in a 40-inch mahi mahi with Capt. Jeff Salter on board the lady helen. Coming in second place was “Little” Alex who hooked a 38-inch barracuda with Capt. Mike Lavelle on Lofinfollowed by “Little” Haven who reeled in a 30-inch bonita.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Tamari (Little) is the winner of the biggest fish caught with his dolphin catch at the 42nd annual Big Fish Tournament sponsored by the Moss Foundation.

(Littles Photography / Courtesy)

“I’ve been doing this with Big Brothers Big Sisters for about 15 years and we have won a bunch of awards over the years with most fish and biggest fish trophies,” Salter said. “It is very important to be out here for the kids and helping out the community and today, we had captains Steve and Austin Brooker helping out. This event is expanding, and it is all good. I’ve been fishing for over 30 years, and I do the Big Brothers Big Sisters Fish Tournament and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. We had five kids out there today and everybody is happy.”

One of the happiest participants was “Little” participant Landon Chism who caught the most fish award with 35 catches with Capt. John Nelson aboard the Salty Lady II. “Little” Zach caught 28 fish with captains Mike Cunningham and Karen Tedesco for second place, followed by “Little” Breanna who reeled in 20 fish with Capt. Jorge Lang aboard the Lady T.

Capt.  Steve Brooker, Capt.  Austin Brooker, Capt.  Jeff Salter, Tramari (Little), Big Brothers Big Sisters Broward CEO Malena Mendez, tournament co-chairpers Cheryl Seinfeld and Trevor Carroll at the awards ceremony.

(Emmett Hall/Courtesy)

Chism attends New River Middle School in Fort Lauderdale and is in the seventh grade.

“I’ve been fishing for about two months, and this is my first tournament and I consider myself a lucky guy,” he said. “It was super fun and I’m glad that we got here early and were one of the first boats to leave and that was helpful. I had two nice captains with Capt. Tim and Capt. Jack. We caught a lot of yellowtail snappers. I really had a lot of fun and I want to come back next year. Going out on the ocean was a real treat and it was special.”

Big Brothers Big Sisters Broward CEO Malena Mendez, tournament co-chairpersons Cheryl Seinfeld and Trevor Carroll and wife Lauren Carroll receive appreciation plaques.

(Emmett Hall/Courtesy)

The popular smallest fish award went to “Little” Jonathan who caught a 2-inch grunt with Capt. Donnie Cundiff aboard Chasin’ Skirts.


Landon Chism, the winner of the most fish caught, and his mother at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Big Fish Tournament shows off his trophy prize at the Bahia Cabana Yachting Center.

(Emmett Hall/Courtesy)

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