ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — For over 50 years, the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament has marked the start of the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series. This year’s event is to challenge anglers Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.
The all-release tournament, a primary fundraiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association, allows an unlimited number of anglers per vessel to participate.
Tournament events are to be headquartered at the Whale Harbor Inn and Marina complex, located at mile marker 83 in Islamorada, and open with pre-registration, cocktails and a kick-off gala at 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30.
Fishing is scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by an awards banquet and raffle.
Entry fees received by Nov. 4 are $650 for the first angler fishing aboard a vessel and $550 for each additional angler. Fees received after Nov. 4 are $750 and $650, respectively. The junior angler entry fee is $250 regardless of entry date.
New in 2017, additional optional categories offer boat teams more opportunities to win prize money. They include Day by Day, Overall Entry, Grand Puba, Go Big and a Fun Fish entry. Additional entry fees are required for optional categories.
For available accommodations in the area, inquire with a tournament charter boat captain or contact the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 305-664-4503.
The Gold Cup Series also includes the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament Jan. 24-25 and the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament set for Jan. 26-28, when the series culminates and an overall Gold Cup Series champion is crowned.
To register: islamoradasailfishtournament.com/ or Dianne Harbaugh at 305-522-4868
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing