Islamorada Charter Boat Association

Islamorada Sailfish Tournament

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54th Annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament
November 30 - December 3 , 2017


The 53rd Annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament hosted 96 anglers fishing aboard 21 boats.  Great Sailfish action continued over the three days of fishing that concluded on December 4th.  172 Sailfish were release out of the 210 called in hook ups with nearly $75,000.00 going to the winners.  It would be Captain Paul Ross who would lead anglers Fenton Langston from Key Largo, FL fishing with Jimmy Hendrix from Tavernier, FL, along with Debbie and James David from Miami, FL who would take the lead on the last day and win the annual event.  The team would release a total of 15 sails and be awarded beautiful Sailfish trophies sponsored by Tackle Center of Islamorada. A special treat would be in order for all the winners as Santa Claus stopped by to hand out the awards.

The first day of fishing would greet anglers with winds from the north east at 10-15 and partly cloudy skies.  With lines in at 8:30 captain Brian Cone called in the first hook up of the tournament at 8:35.  Angler John Timura of Tavernier, FL would release the fish at 8:39, but the day would belong to the

Last Dance.   Anglers Ken Longaker, from Islamorada, FL and Matt McLean of Naples, FL would release a double header by 9:34.  The Last Dance team would pick away at sails for the remainder of the day taking the lead with 6 fish.   

Day two produced 56 Sailfish releases.  Six boats would have 4 releases, and ten boats would have 3 keeping the scores tight for all in the tournament.  At the end of day two the Last Dance would still hold the lead with a total of 10 releases.  Hell Reyzer would be close on their heals with 9 releases as well as the Relentless with 9.  

The final day of fishing produced many multiple hook ups and releases.   Cloud Nine would release a quadruple header of sailfish propelling them into third place by 10:30.   When the lunchtime bite started the Relentless would release 6 fish in less than 35 minutes.  This would give the Relentless the lead with 15 fish followed by the Last Dance who would have 12.  That would be all the Relentless needed as the Last Dance did their best to get back on top releasing 2 more fish during the day.

When the committee boat called lines out at 3:00 the Captain Robert Collins’ anglers Ken Longaker and Matt McLean fishing with Mark Wodlinger from Naples, FL along with Robert Helms and Brandon Hopper from Islamorada would have 14 Sailfish releases aboard the Last Dance putting them in second place.  The team took home beautiful Mangrove Mike’s Café sponsored Tim Rahn Photography trophies.  Caribee Boat Sales sponsored the high point angler award that would go to Last Dance angler Matt McLean who released a total of 8 Sailfish.  Matt would also be awarded the Bill Hirni high point angler memorial trophy.  (Perpetual)

It would be the team aboard the Hell Reyzer with Captain JC Cleare that would land in third place.  Anglers Rey Acosta, Michelle Beltran and Rudy Espinosa Sr. all from Miami and Doug Mientkiewicz from Islamorada, FL with the help of mates Ryan Alexander, Eric Darvill and Jorge Corzo would release 5 fish on the first day, 4 on the second day and 2 on the final day for a total of 11 Sails.  The Boat Goat Scrub sponsored trophies were presented to the team.  Angler Michelle Beltran would take home the Yamaha Outboards sponsored top lady angler award for the second year in a row with 5 Sailfish releases.  

Junior Angler Eric Perna form Port Orange, FL fishing aboard the Miss Emma would release 6 sailfish and be awarded the top junior angler trophy.  James David fishing on the Relentless released 5 Sailfish on time to win the second place junior angler award. Shawn MacMullin of Key Largo, FL fishing as the sole angler aboard the Prime Time, would be awarded the third place junior angler trophy with 5 releases.

Most tagged fish would go to the team Prime Time with their 5 releases that were all tagged.   Most Outstanding Catch award went to Jarod Alexander from Rockdale, TX who caught a 13.7 pound Mutton Snapper that ate a kite bait in 85 feet of water.   The Largest Tuna award went to Jamie Martin of Memphis, TN aboard the Aces High weighing in at 24.3 pounds.  The largest Mackerel was 17.9 pounds caught by junior angler James David.  Hillbilly Deluxe angler Gus Solis of Key Largo, FL weighed in the largest Dolphin, a 9.3 pounder.  

The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the first leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.  The Relentless is currently in the lead with 15 fish.  Second place in the Gold Cup is the Last Dance with 14 releases and third is the Hell Reyzer with 11releases. The next leg of the series is the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament January 19th thru the 21st.   The champions will be crowned at the Islamorada Fishing Clubs Sailfish Tournament on January 26th 2017.

“Whale Harbor served up another great event,” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh, “the kick off buffet was topped off with stone crabs again this year.  The awards banquet was hand served by the exceptional staff at Wahoo’s restaurant.  Everyone is excited to come back next year to see the new facility that is currently under construction.”  The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the primary fund raiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association.  The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament will continue the fight to preserve and protect the fabulous fishing in the Florida Keys.  More information on the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament can be found on the web site  

Join the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament today!

Schedule of Events

Thursday, November 30 , 2017
 5:00 PM Pre-registration, Whale Harbor, Seafood Buffet
 6:00 PM Registration, Cocktails, Whale Harbor, Seafood Buffet
 7:00 PM Gala Kick-off Banquet, Whale Harbor, Seafood Buffet
 7:30 PM Rules Meeting 

Friday, December 1, 2017

 8:30 AM  Lines In!  First Day of Fishing!
 4:30 PM  Lines Out!
 6:00 PM Deadline for fun fish weigh-in at Whale Harbor Marina

Saturday, December 2, 2017

 8:30 AM Lines In!  Second Day of Fishing!
 4:30 PM Lines Out!
 6:00 PM Deadline for fun fish weigh-in at Whale Harbor Marina

Sunday, December 3, 2017
 8:30 AM Lines In!  Third and Final Day of Fishing!
 3:00 PM Lines Out!
 4:30 PM Deadline for fun fish weigh-in at Whale Harbor Marina
 6:00 PM Cocktails, Whale Harbor, Braza Lena
 7:00 PM Gala Awards Banquet, Whale Harbor, Braza Lena
 8:00 PM Awards Presentation and Raffle