by Ed Lee
The Redfish World Series has arrived!
Recognition by sporting industry peers, pundits, celebrities, and cohorts is the epitome of acknowledgement of purpose and is validation that something is real and permanent in that sport. Moreover, public recognition by a highly visible leading authority in the field is a crowning achievement and tells the world you have indeed - Arrived!
That recognition, that respect, and that achievement has just come forward for the Redfish World Series World Championship.
In a new book due to be published in mid-November the Redfish World Series is named as one of the top 60 fishing tournaments in North, Central, and South America.
Fly Navarro, one of the most known, celebrated, and sought out anglers in the world has put together his first book – BEST CATCH 2020 - celebrating the winners of the 60 top fishing tournaments throughout the Americas—stretching from Canadian waters, throughout the United States, Central, and South America. The book is an heirloom style yearbook that belongs on every serious angler’s coffee table and in every fishing lodge in the world.
“I’m passionate about fishing but I can’t attend every single tournament. There are still places I want to see, people I want to meet, and fish I want to catch. Together, these three things made me wonder if there’s a way we all could share our fish stories together.” - Robert “Fly” Navarro
“The fishing tournament community is vast,” says author Navarro. “I wanted to create something that not only recognizes the tournaments and the winners, but also brings the fishing community closer. We might all be fishing for different species, but we share a strong passion for the sport.”
There are three distinct categories in the book: Saltwater Offshore, Saltwater Inshore, and Freshwater. The book reveals the winners of the events and tells the story of the event, the history, and culture that rides along with each of these special tournaments.
During the pre-printing phase of the book Navarro noted that the reception within the industry is a robust excitement.
“People are loving it,” says Fly. “The top two comments I receive when people see the book are: 1) “This is beautiful!” They’re referring to the fantastic artwork of my friend Carey Chen. He is amazing. And, 2) “How do I become part of this book?” They want to be involved. I love it!”
Praise for the book is already rolling in from some pretty high places:
“This book is a beautiful collection of stories about the people who truly love fishing. It’s proof that we all belong to a massive community of people who understand the magic beneath the water, and the best places to discover that magic.” – Carl Allen, owner, Walkers Cay
“Competitive fishing tournaments are a big part of our sport’s DNA. Chronicling this important part of recreational fishing is important and Fly Navarro has done a great job in capturing tournament fishing in this new book.” Jason Schratwieser, President, International Game Fish Association
And, with this interview, I have had the pleasure of discovering that the Redfish World Series is the brainchild of a very interesting man named Gritter Griffin.
Griffin is not your everyday tournament director. In fact, nothing about him is “everyday”.
During our interview I was seriously impressed with his depth and breadth of knowledge on every subject, but I was most impressed by his passion and drive to complete the mission he started two years ago. He is, in my opinion, one of those rare birds defined as a Renaissance Man.
Griffin fished competitively on all the redfish circuits for over twenty years. He is one of the few “angling greybeards” that was there in the beginning. Along the way he developed a strong, abiding, passion for the sport and the species.
“I just fell in love with it all. The anglers, the fish, the camaraderie, the competition and most importantly – the sport itself. I feel blessed from it all having made lifelong friends and industry contacts by being out there doing what I loved so much.”
But it was not always to be slick water, bright sun, and bluebird days. Over the years, Griffin noted a troubling feature about his beloved sport. As time went on, the sport did not grow and thrive as he felt it should. Instead it seemed to devolve into a series of fits and starts and morphed into something unrecognizable as a cohesive competitive sport.
"After twenty years of watching this happen", Griffin said, “I had seen enough and experienced enough to know that something very different and important had to happen if my dream of reality for redfishing was to happen – I had had enough of it the way it was. I just could not retire from competition and leave everything in the misguided, incomplete, and fragmented mess it was in. I was determined to change the pattern. So, I set out to build something so important, so different, so complete, so truly professional, that it would elevate redfishing to the level of professionalism it deserves.”
And the Redfish World Series World Championship was born.
Based in Chalmette, Louisiana, arguably the world capital of redfishing, the annual World Series serves as the crowning achievement for competitive redfish anglers. Only the top fifty redfish teams in the country receive an invitation to this prestigious event. It is exclusive. It is indeed special.
Here, the world champion is crowned after a demanding and exhaustive four day stretch of intense competition. The unique format of the World Series was devised by Griffin to eliminate as much luck as possible while lauding and rewarding those that were fully developed, skillful anglers. He devised a format that forced the competitors to bring not only their “A” angling game, but their instincts, planning abilities, and analytical thinking abilities to the table as well. He said he built it that way because “The Redfish World Series Championship Crown will not be won accidentally!”
After the initial success of the inaugural World Series in 2019 and then pulling off what he called the “Miracle in 2020”, Griffin has set out on part two of his plan to bring stability and recognition to his sport. He has built an entire national league of competitive redfishing events stretching along the coast from Jacksonville, Florida to the south Texas gulf coast – the National Redfish League.
It is within this league that he plans to build his framework for the future. Here, he says, he will be able to expose, nurture, and grow interest in the sport from within the fishing industry as well as from non-endemic sources.
One of the most important things he recognized about the first twenty years Griffin says, “…is that the events were being run for the wrong reason. They were being run for the people who were running them and not for the anglers and sponsors who were actually making them happen.”
He is determined to change that too. He has built a 501(c)(3) company that is as different as his philosophy about competitive redfishing.
“The mantra, mission statement, philosophy, and drive of this company is to recognize and reward the anglers and the sponsors that are making it happen.”
“Anglers invited to the World Series should be treated as the celebrities they are,” Griffin said. “They should have a serious platform to market themselves to the fishing industry as ambassadors for a brand. And the sponsor partners that join us should be rewarded with effective marketing and exposure of their brand and their products. We are determined to do this right so there is recognition, fiscal responsibility, and value for a company to partner with us as we work to increase their visibility, marketing footprint, and overall viability.”
So, I asked him (almost tongue in cheek) - will this work?
His answer: “Absolutely and undeniably - Yes - it will work. It will work because we are unselfishly doing the right thing for the right people and we are also vigorously supporting coastal ecological and species conservation efforts as well as charitable organizations across the country.”
The Redfish World Series has become legendary after only two years and, by inclusion in this new book, is now recognized by one of the industry’s greats as an important feature in the angling world.
The National Redfish League is now poised to join in that recognition.
Pre-Ordering Now Available to Public!!!