83 anglers fishing on 22 boats released 57 sailfish over challenging two-day competition
ISLAMORADA, FL (Jan. 27, 2020) – Cheeca Lodge & Spa’s 30th Annual Presidential Sailfish Tournament, the second leg of the Florida Keys’ Gold Cup Series, hosted 83 competitive anglers this past weekend in the sportfishing capital of the world.
Clinching first place, Team Three Natives earned overall champion honors releasing a total of six sailfish. Team members included Matt Turner of Tallahassee, FL; Tim McGavern of Tampa, FL; and Moriah Davis of Tuscaloosa, AL. Outstanding Captain and Mate Awards went to Richard Black and Ross Render of Tavernier. Captain Richard Black was the Artificial Division Champion Guide at Cheeca’s 7th Annual All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament last year.
“We were excited to celebrate the tournament’s 30th anniversary with top-shelf competition by anglers from all over the world. We appreciate the tremendous support of our anglers and sponsors, and are proud to be part of the Florida Keys Gold Cup,” says Lisa Thornhill, Tournament Director.
Overall, 29 sailfish were released on the first day of the tournament and 28 were released on the second day, for a total of 66 hookups and 57 releases by 83 anglers on 22 boats.
The Grand Champion Angler Award, sponsored by Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, went to Reed Ekey of Port Orange, FL, on The Booty Shaker captained by Denny Perna for four releases.
The Top Lady Angler Award sponsored by Blue Marlin Jewelry, went to Madison Wright of Islamorada, FL, for one release onboard the Remix captained by JC Cleare of Miami. The Top Lady Angler Award is dedicated to the memory of Jay Anna and Kenny Cohan, beloved members of the Islamorada community.
Second Place went to Team Kelly Dawn led by Captain Justin Baker of Key Largo, FL. Kelly Dawn released six sailfish with anglers Patrick Nutt and Will Ochse of Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Nick Caito of Davie, FL; and Jimi Fickling of Islamorada, FL.
Team Remix earned Third Place honors. With Captain JC Cleare of Miami, anglers Doug Mientkiewicz and Madison Wright of Islamorada, FL and Jorge Corzo and Sarah Melia of Miami, released five sailfish.
In a long-standing Presidential Tournament tradition of conservation, The First Choice team won the Most Tagged Fish Award, captained by Larry Wren of Islamorada, FL, with Angler Oliver Bastian from Southampton, Hampshire UK, tagging one sail.
New this year, the Top Photo Award went to Miles Murphy onboard Shitz & Giggles of Key Colony Beach, FL. A runner-up award sponsored by Bass Pro went to Patrick Nutt of Ft. Lauderdale, FL onboard the Kelly Dawn.
Tournament trophies were created by famed Keys artist Pasta Pantaleo and sponsor King Sailfish Mounts of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Pantaleo’s artwork was also featured on the tournament shirts.
The 30th Annual Presidential Tournament Title Sponsors included Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, Yamaha Outboards, Bacardi and Titos. Partner sponsors included King Sailfish Mounts, BlueFin USA, Pasta Pantaleo, Blue Marlin Jewelry, Keys Audio Visual, World Wide Sportsman, Executive Printers of Florida, Florida Keys Brewing Company and RideStarRX.
Live scoring for the 30th Annual Presidential Tournament can be found at https://www.islamoradasailfishtournament.com/tournament.php?id=889.
Cheeca Lodge & Spa also hosts the All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament set for Nov. 12-14, 2020.
Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship
The 30th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament was the second leg of the prestigious Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship, following the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament. The Islamorada Fishing Club Tournament on January 29, 2020, is the third leg of the series. The Gold Cup Championship benefis the Islamorada Charter Boat Association.