Islamorada’s Capt. Brian Cone led team Trophy Hunter to first place in the Islamorada Fishing Club Captain’s Cup Sailfish Tournament on Jan. 17. The team also achieved its second win in the three-leg Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.
The Trophy Hunter team released five sailfish between 8:45 and 11:13 a.m. on the contest’s single day of fishing to take and maintain the lead, landing the winner-take-all prize of $19,000.
Capt. Cone’s 13-year-old son Andy Cone caught and released two sailfish to earn the contest’s high-point angler award on time.
Trophy Hunter team anglers Mark Mitchell and Kenneth Padgett, both from Charlotte, North Carolina, each released one sailfish – as did Travis Bennett of Tavernier, Florida – to round out the team’s winning total.
Returning to the dock in second place with three sailfish was Capt. Marty Lewis of Marathon, Florida, at the helm of Main One/Main Attraction. The team’s anglers were Mark Busch of Key Colony Beach, Florida; Ben Zdan, Ariel Medero and Alex Lewis from Marathon; and Danny Lombardo of Islamorada.
In third with two sailfish releases was Capt. Alex Adler of Islamorada and his crew aboard Kalex: Indiana anglers Chris Chastain, Allen Sutkowski and Nathan Burns; and Colby Mason of Islamorada.
The tournament drew 68 registered anglers on 19 boats. Collectively, they released a total of 26 sailfish.
Established in 1950, the Islamorada Fishing Club embraces core values of conservation, recreational fishing and strong family and community bonds among avid fishermen. The IFC Sailfish Tournament is the second leg of the annual three-event Florida Keys Gold Cup Championship series.