The Crosthwait Memorial Fishing Tournament is proud to be the one of the largest fishing competitions on the West Coast of Florida. Originating in 1983, the tournament serves a tribute to Colonel Sam Crosthwait, in recognition of his passion for his high moralistic ideals and love for the distinct camaraderie that surrounds the unique sport of angling. Each year in May at the Bradenton Yacht Club, hundreds of anglers and thousands of community spectators attend this cherished community event, which is run by a volunteer committee of more than 40 people.
Originally founded by several Bradenton Yacht Club Past Commodores to honor fellow Past Commodore Colonel Sam Crosthwait. Colonel Crosthwait lived and fished in Manatee County for the last 25 years of his eventful life. He was Commodore of the BYC and a frequent tournament winner who fished in many countries around the world. His high standards for personal conduct, sportsmanship, and his reverence for nature provide an example for all those who fish the Crosthwait.
Known as the “Granddaddy of Them All,” the Crosthwait is one of the largest and oldest fishing tournaments in Florida and is always held at the Bradenton Yacht Club each year in May. Many of the committee volunteers and anglers have participated in the tournament for decades, and span multiple generations. There are four primary divisions: Offshore, Inshore, Under 19 Junior and Under 16 Junior, in addition to specialty tournaments every year including our popular new Children’s On the Wall Tournament on Saturday of the tournament.
Crosthwait also hosts an event for Veterans on Saturday of the tournament each year. Local fishing guides and other volunteers donate their time to teach Veterans the peace and tranquility provided by fishing and boating. Each year, roughly 30 Veterans and their guests participate in the program, which involves a morning of guided fishing, followed by a lunch reception at the BYC, sponsored by Anna Maria Oyster Bar.
The 2022 tournament included 106 teams with 398 anglers across four fishing divisions. While the proceeds from the anglers’ entry fees go back to the anglers in prize money, it is the sponsors who help the many charities that the Crosthwait supports, and because of their generous support for the 2022 tournament, we were able to donate $45,000 back to our community in charitable contributions!
The 2022 Crosthwait’s charitable donations included: (i) $25,000 to the Tampa Bay Estuary Program, a local, not-for-profit entity focused on the restoration and protection of the Tampa Bay marine habitat; (ii) $7,500 to the Foundation for Dreams local, not-for-profit entity that provides year-round weekend and summer residential camp sessions for all children with varying ability levels and chronic and/or terminal medical conditions, utilizing a portion of the beautiful Camp Flying Eagle through a partnership with the Southwest Florida Boy Scouts; (iii) $7,500 to the Manatee Technical College’s Marine Tech Program in honor of Wade Thompson, one of the original founders of the tournament that participated in the committee every year until his passing last year and who greatly appreciated MTC’s marine program; (iv) $2,000 to the Palmetto Youth Center, a local youth center providing a positive environment for the City of Palmetto’s children; (v) $1,500 to the Lady Tigers Soccer team; (vi) $1,000 to the Jerry Hill Memorial Kids Fishing Tournament, and (vii) $500 to the Eagles Wrestling Club. Tournament proceeds after expenses and prizes go to educational scholarships for local students, community youth centers and youth-serving organizations, Manatee Fish and Game Association, the Marine Mechanics program at Manatee Technical College and more.