Coral C hooks a victory in anglers’ Gold Cup tournament


By Joseph Luciano

Daily News Sports Editor

Calm seas and warm weather may be great if you’re a boater. If you’re fishing for sailfish from that boat? Not so much.

Those conditions contributed to the fish not biting, making for a challenging tournament as the Sailfish Club of Florida hosted its 40th annual Gold Cup Invitational Team Fishing Tournament, which was held from Jan. 10-14.

This year’s tournament, which was headed by committee chairman Winston Wren of Palm Beach and vice chairman Christopher Lazzara, included 62 anglers on 19 teams. Each team had to fish three of the four days of the tournament, and most teams chose to take off the second day in hopes of cooler weather on the last day.

The anglers caught 74 fish compared with 303 last year.

Taking home the Gold Cup trophy was the Coral C, representing the Ocean Reef Club from Key Largo. Coral C, which released 10 fish throughout the tournament, included boat captain Bobby Brown, team captain Chris Berian and anglers Skip Smith, Rob Ruwitch and C.J. McLaughlin. Smith received the John Rybovich Memorial Award for the most sailfish releases on dead bait and also the Donald “Boy” Leas Chairman’s Cup, which is presented to the top angler with the highest percentage hook-up ratio.

Capturing second place was a team representing the Sailfish Club led by boat captain Mark Pagano aboard the Big Dog. Team captain Enrique Tomeu and anglers Harold Hutchins, Chuck Jordan and Mark Willis released eight sailfish.

Third place went to Wren’s Ranch Anglers aboard the boat Wrenegade led by Winston Wren, the team captain. Wren was joined by anglers Erik Waldin, Tony Cummings and Hunter Beall along with boat captain Jimmy Garner. The team had seven releases and beat out the Arcstrike team because it had a better catch time.

Arcstrike, which also caught seven fish, was led by team captain Frank Novak with boat captain Mark McCarthy and angler Eddie Becker.

The Gold Cup was founded in 1972 by John Rybovich to test the skills of anglers catching and releasing sailfish off the east coast of Florida. The Gold Cup is a perpetual trophy maintained by the Sailfish Club.

Save the date: next year’s tournament will be held Jan. 8-12.

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