Indigenous Wins Big at Cheeca Lodge

Twenty-two boats release 79 sails over two days

2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
Indigenous backs down hard on their winning sailfish during the Cheeca Lodge Presidential.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography

Capt. Travis Dickens led Indigenous to victory in the Cheeca Lodge and Spa's 27th Annual Presidential Sailfish Tournament, held January 19 to 21, 2017, in Islamorada, Florida. Anglers Wade Stafford, Annie Corbeel and Mike Walter took home the first-place trophy, releasing eight sailfish over two days of fishing. Corbeel took the Grand Champion Angler award and the Top Lady Angler award, which is dedicated to the memory of Jay Anna Cohan, a beloved member of the Islamorada community. Corbeel won despite having to break off a fish that was hooked up within minutes of lines out on Saturday in order to make it back to port in time to turn in their scorecards.

Second place went to Relentless, led by Capt. Paul Ross, fishing with anglers Fenton Langston, Jim Hendrix, Jim David and Debbie David. They released seven sailfish. Silent Hunter earned third-place honors. Captain James Platt and anglers John Callion, Kevin McKeon, Cody Darby and Jon Henry released six sailfish.

The team fishing aboard Challenger 2 won the Most Tagged Fish division. The Presidential Champion Junior Angler trophy went to 16-year-old James David, who released three sailfish aboard Relentless. For the tournament, there were 47 sailfish released on the first day of fishing and 32 on the second day, for a total of 79 sailfish releases by 78 anglers on 22 boats.

2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
Annie Corbeel was the tournament's top angler and top lady angler, fishing on Indigenous.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
Challenger 2 was the top tagging team. They also boated this very nice wahoo during the event.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
The Cheeca Lodge Presidential hosted a fleet of 22 boats.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
Capt. Travis Dickens on Indigenous was the tournament's top captain.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
The kites go up and the baits go out. Live-baiting is a popular tactic for Islamorada sailfish.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
Capt. Paul Ross and the Relentless team finished in second place.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
A hot bite on the reef means plenty of competition.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
The Silent Hunter team gets ready to release a sailfish. They placed third in the tournament.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography
2017 Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
The setting sun means another day has come to an end in the Florida Keys.Courtesy Cheeca Lodge Presidential / JayHawk Photography