For more than 50 years, the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament has opened the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series. This year’s event dates are Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.
An unlimited number of anglers per vessel can participate in the all-release tournament, which is a primary fundraiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association.
Social events will be headquartered at the Whale Harbor Inn and Marina complex at mile marker 83 in Islamorada, beginning with pre-registration, cocktails and a kick-off gala Thursday, Nov. 29.
Fishing is scheduled 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, followed by an awards banquet and raffle.
Entry fees received by Nov. 1 are $650 for the first angler and $550 for each additional angler. Fees after Nov. 1 are $750 and $650, respectively. The junior angler entry fee is $250.
Additional optional categories offer boat teams more opportunities to win prize monies. They include Day by Day, Overall Entry, Grand Puba, Go Big and a Fun Fish entry. Additional entry fees are elective.
For available accommodations in the area, inquire with a tournament charter boat captain or contact the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at 305-664-4503.
Subsequent fishing events in the Gold Cup Series include the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament Jan. 23-24 and the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament Jan. 25-27, when the series culminates and an overall Gold Cup Series champion is crowned.
For information, go to Islamoradasailfishtournament.com.