Fish For A Cure

June 29, 2012 Updated Jun 29, 2012 at 5:07 PM EDT

By WKBW News

June 29, 2012 Updated Jun 29, 2012 at 5:07 PM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - Fisherman are gearing up and heading out, all for a good cause.

"We have 35 boaters heading to catch a cure for Cystic Fibrosis," Executive Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Gia Coone said.

It's the 11th Annual Basseye Celebrity Challenge raising more than $150,000 on Friday. They've collected more $1.3 million since they started the competition more than a decade ago.

"This is what it's all about. It's about healthy kids and finding a cure for a disease and bonding with people," Committee Leader Bob Rich said.

Here's how the competition works. Bass are worth 50 points, Walleye 100 points and if fisherman want extra credit, Basseye are worth 150 points. They said things get competitive on the water.

"Walleye are tough. You usually get Bass but the Walleye make the difference in the end," Fisherman Dave Konst said.

Many local celebrities were also on the water, including former Buffalo Bills Quarterback Jim Kelly. They said this fundraiser is a testament to the generosity of Western New Yorkers.

"You see this over and over again in Western New York. You look at our numbers from many different events and we have such big hearts," Rich said.

Although many people are out to get the most fish, others said they are there to have a good time for a great reason.

"I got two great people who catch fish with me so I can just sit and relax," Konst said.

After everything is said and done, the participants get a nice prize. More importantly, they receive the satisfaction of knowing a sick person was helped.

Here is a release from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:

Local Anglers and Celebrities Raise More than $120,000 to Fight Cystic Fibrosis

Buffalo, N.Y. – The 11th annual Greater Niagara BassEye Celebrity Challenge, a waterfront fundraiser and fishing tournament that took place June 28-29 at the NFTA Boat Harbor, brought in more than $120,000 to benefit the Western New York chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).

Anglers, captains, sponsors and guests gathered for the BassEye Dinner and Auction, the tournament kick-off event held on June 28 at Rich’s Renaissance Atrium. The evening featured nautical themed cuisine paired with finely brewed domestic beers courtesy of Labatt USA. The evening was highlighted by outstanding live and silent auctions and guest appearances by local celebrities.

On Friday, June 29, more than 35 boats filled with 200 anglers and captains spent the day on Lake Erie for a catch-and-release bass and walleye fishing tournament. 2012 Grand Champion Angler honors went to Jim Stevens, captained by Eric Graves; and the Grand Champion Team consisted of anglers Jim Camarre, Dave Lysiak, and Jim Stevens, also captained by Eric Graves. The key to the Greater Niagara BassEye Celebrity Challenge is catching both bass and walleye. Walleye earn the angler 100 points; bass earn 50 points and a BassEye is worth 150 points.

“The money we raise through events like BassEye goes toward research and medical programs that help give people with CF the quality of life and promise of a future they deserve,” said Gia Coone, executive director of the Western New York chapter of CFF. “Every year that the event grows in popularity, we get that much closer to catching a cure for CF.”

Sponsors for the 2012 Greater Niagara BassEye Celebrity Challenge include Rich Products, Buffalo Bisons, Robert James Sales and Business First.

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