ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys – Captain Marty Lewis of Marathon, Florida, led his team aboard Main Attraction to the overall win in the 29th annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament that ended Jan. 27.
Team anglers Mark Busch, Daniel Roberts, Clint Rodamer and Shelby Bentley, all residents of Marathon, together released 10 sails in the best time for top honors.
Team HellReyzer captured second place with 10 sails, with Captain Ryan Alexander of Cutler Bay, Florida, at the helm. Anglers included Rey Acosta, Mike Acosta, Travis Upchurch and Jorge Corzo, of Pinecrest, Florida.
Team Indigenous earned third place honors with nine sailfish releases. Islamorada’s Captain Travis Dickens led anglers Wade Stafford, Coleman Wherly, Mike Varney and Mark Toledo, from Merritt Island, Melbourne, Key Largo and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, respectively.
Varney also captured the tournament’s grand champion angler award for his five releases.
Cheeca Presidential Tournament director Liz Hill reported that 73 anglers aboard 19 boats released 82 sailfish during the two-day fishing contest.
The “Presidential” is the final leg of the three-tournament Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship, which includes the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament and the Islamorada Fishing Club Tournament.
Team Last Dance totaled 25 releases over the series’ three events to be named overall Gold Cup Series champion. According to organizers, the team was awarded the first-place prize of $24,000.