The annual NCAA men’s basketball tournament gets underway this month, and Cheeky Fishing is turning the tables on “March Madness” with a uniquely fishy bent, and all for two good causes.
Cheeky’s Road to the Final Fish bracket replaces college basketball teams with well-known gamefish, and offers participants the chance to fill out brackets and pick the tournament winner. For a $10 donation (which is split between Trout Unlimited and Casting for Recovery), participants can fill out and submit their brackets online.
It’s tougher than you might think. I mean, you might think a ‘match-up’ between a brook trout and a sea trout would be a no-brainer, but there are many reasons for anglers to vote for a fish other than sheer size, speed or whatever. Brookies got my vote in the first round because they’re such a special fish with an amazing life force. No disrespect to sea trout everywhere, but brook trout are one of my favorites.
Similar first-round matchups make for some fishy dilemmas from die-hard fly anglers. For instance, which fish would you pick between a pike and a snapper? Or a sturgeon or a permit? How about a king salmon vs. a mako shark?
Ted Upton, CEO of Cheeky Fishing, maker of high-end fly fishing reels, said this is the sixth year for the Road to the Final Fish tournament, and past winners have included golden dorado, permit and rainbow trout.
“When filling out your bracket, you can advance any fish for any reason,” said Ted Upton, CEO of Cheeky Fishing. “Maybe it's the fish you would target if you only had one day left on the water ... maybe it's the best fight you've ever had ... whatever the reason for your choice, choose wisely. Beginning on March 17, matchup voting takes place on the Cheeky Fishing website, and the most accurate brackets will be in the running for more than $5,000 in fishing prizes."
Of course, it’s more than just for fun. The tournament helps raise money for two important organizations—TU and CFR.
“Trout Unlimited and Casting for Recovery are very important causes to Cheeky,” Upton said. “We’re passionate about protecting our fishing waters, and spreading this conservation message to anglers around the world. Casting for Recovery is another wonderful organization. Angling, and nature, have a unique way of inspiring and healing, and supporting CFR allows Cheeky to support the healing process among women who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer – an important cause to us personally."
Participants have until March 16 to make a donation and fill out their brackets. Each week during the real NCAA tournament, Cheeky will announce winners of each match-up, right up until the Final Fish.