Sailfish Competition’s Gold Cup Series Set to Kick Off

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The 48th annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, one of the oldest tournaments in the Keys, is set for Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 1-4.

The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the first leg of the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series that also includes the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament, set for Jan. 20-22, 2012, and the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament, Jan. 25-26, 2012.

Islamorada Sailfish Tournament rules place a strong emphasis on conservation and sportsmanship, and it is the only event in the series to offer a junior division for anglers age 16 and younger.

The all-release boat event opens with pre-registration at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, in the main dining room at Whale Harbor Inn, mile marker 83.5 oceanside in Islamorada. A kick-off banquet featuring an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet with stone crabs follows, as does a rules meeting.

Fishing is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, and from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.

The weigh-in for fun fish closes Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. and Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The public is invited to watch the weigh-in all three days.

A standings party with cocktails and free hors d’oeuvres is set for 6 p.m. Friday at Wahoo’s Bar and Grill at Whale Harbor. A gala awards banquet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at Braza Leña Brazilian Steakhouse, with the awards presentation and raffle drawing at 8 p.m.

Entry fees received before Nov. 10 are $600 for the first angler fishing aboard a vessel and $500 for each additional angler. Entries received after Nov. 10 are $700 and $550, respectively. The junior angler entry fee is $200 regardless of entry date. An unlimited number of anglers is allowed per vessel.

Specially priced lodging rates are available.

The Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship is limited to 30 boat teams of elite sport fishermen. The deadline to register is Dec. 1, 2011, and the entry fee is $1,000 for four anglers. At least one angler must be entered and paid for all three series events.

Tournament information: www.islamoradasailfishtournament.com, 305-852-2102 or ditournaments@aol.com.

For information on other upcoming tournaments, click here.

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