Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament

Cheeca Lodge & Spa to Host 28th Annual Presidential Sailfish Tournament January 26-28, 2018 at Whale Harbor

Tournament welcomes anglers to the sportfishing capital of the world and to the third leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Series benefiting the Islamorada Charter Boat Association

ISLAMORADA, FL (January 8, 2017) – Cheeca Lodge & Spa will host its 28th annual Presidential Sailfish Tournament January 26 – 28, 2018, at Whale Harbor’s new banquet facility.

Throughout Cheeca’s illustrious history, the tournament has grown to become one of the most prestigious sailfish tournaments in South Florida. This year the Presidential will be the third leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship which features 14 Gold Cup boats and benefits the Islamorada Charter Boat Association.

“Our Presidential Sailfish Tournament has become one of the year’s most anticipated events, and we’re pleased to continue the legacy at a new venue while we make progress to reopen our resort,” says Bob LaCasse, general manager of Cheeca Lodge & Spa. “It’s important to support the community by bringing much-needed business back to the Keys, and we want to help keep our captains fishing,” he added.

During two days of intense fishing and action-packed events, the industry’s top competitive sports fishermen will battle to take home top awards in a variety of categories, including: grand champion angler, outstanding captain, outstanding mate, most tagged fish for angler, captain and mate, along with top lady angler and junior angler (16 years and younger). Winning anglers will be awarded framed artwork by renowned marine artist Roberto Pasta Pantaleo. In keeping with Cheeca’s mission to conserve and protect valuable Keys resources, all sailfish must be caught with a circle hook and released.

The 2018 tournament will kickoff on Friday, January 26, with a welcome cocktail party, rules meeting and dinner, followed by two rigorous days of fishing. The Early entry fee is $675 for the first angler; additional anglers are $625, with up to four anglers per boat. After January 12, 2018, the entry fee for the first angler is $775, and each additional angler is $725. Additional social tickets for the kick-off dinner and awards presentation are available for purchase. It is not necessary to be registered for the Gold Cup to compete in the Cheeca Presidential Sailfish Tournament.

Title Sponsors include Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, Yamaha, Bacardi, Titos and SERVPRO. Partner sponsors include BlueFin USA, Tunaskin, Florida Keys Brewing Company, Blue Marlin Jewelry, Executive Printers of Florida, Pasta Pantaleo, Smoove and RideStarRX.

For more information, please contact Lisa Thornhill at (305) 517-4512 or by email at, or Liz Hill at (305) 451-5094 by e-mail at For entry forms, tournament rules and a schedule of events, please visit the tournament website at

About the Florida Keys Gold Cup Championship

The Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship is a combination of three of the premier sailfish events in the Florida Keys. The FKGC is both an angler tournament as well as a team tournament. Each team must fish aboard the same boat in all three events. At least one angler of each team entered must fish all three events. This format stems from a long history of sailfish tri-fectas. Teams compete to win the coveted Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Tournament trophy.

The three events that comprise the Florida Keys Gold Cup include the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament fishing December 1-3, 2017; the Islamorada Fishing Clubs’ Sailfish Tournament on January 25, 2017; and the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament fishing January 27th and 28th 2018. Each tournament has their own set of rules and entry fees.

Each angler competes on an individual basis for the Championship Ring that includes bragging rights for the entire year. Teams compete for cash prizes and the coveted Gold Cup Trophy. There are also team awards for second and third places.

The Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship lures anglers from all over the world. The field has a limited entry of teams of elite sport fisherman. Early entry is encouraged. By entering the Florida Keys Gold Cup, anglers are supporting the Islamorada Charter Boat Association. The charter boat association is a 501-C-3 organization that works to conserve our fisheries here for future generations. The competition heats up every December as the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament kicks of this tournament series.

About Cheeca Lodge & Spa

A cornerstone of the Islamorada community since 1946, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is set on a 27-acre private estate in the “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” Cheeca boasts 214 guestrooms, oceanfront suites and bungalows, and its signature feature is the classic 525 ft. wooden fishing pier. One of the most popular suites is the George Bush Presidential Suite filled with priceless photos and mementos that were donated by the former President. Cheeca guests can enjoy watersports activities and excursions, tennis and sports courts, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a Spa with 11 treatment rooms, a family and adults-only lap pool, poolside cabanas, an oceanfront tiki hut, Camp Cheeca for children, over 4,500 sq. ft. of event space, and three distinctive restaurants. The Lodge anticipates completion of renovations due to Hurricane Irma in the spring of 2018. For more information visit