The Sailfish Club of Florida hosted its 42nd Annual Gold Cup Invitational Team Fishing Tournament January 12-16, 2014. The tournament takes place over four days and anglers fish 3 out of 4 of those days. This year’s tournament was headed by Committee Co-Chairmen, Christopher Lazzara and Winston Wren and consisted of 21 teams and 80 anglers.
It was quite an exciting tournament and it was up until the last moment of the final day that it could’ve been anyone’s win! The four-day tournament ended with a total of 231 releases which is a significant increase from 2013 and 2012’s tournaments which had 77 and 74 releases, respectively.
Taking home this year’s Gold Cup trophy with a total of 24 sailfish and 7200 points was a Sailfish Club Team, aboard the boat Big Dog. The team consisted of Boat Captain Mark Pagano, Team Captain Enrique Tomeu and anglers, Harold Hutchins, Mark Willis and Chuck Jordan. This is a second win for the team as it had won the Gold Cup Tournament in 2008.
Capturing second place was a new team led by Boat Captain Wink Doerzbacher on the Showtime! Team Captain Fred Hardwick and anglers Mark Schwartz, Tom Russell and Nancy Hardwick released a total of 23 sailfish and ended with 6900 points. Top angler honors went to a married couple; Fred Hardwick took home the prestigious John Rybovich Memorial Award which is given to angler who released the most sailfish on dead bait and his wife Nancy, received the Ann Sodahl Memorial Award which presented to the highest woman angler.
Third and fourth place came in at a tie with 6000 and 20 releases each, but in the end Galatea representing the Galatea Fishing Team took third place based on time. The team was led by Team Captain John Jakes with Boat Captain Mike Croke and anglers Kevin Hawkin, Tom Hawkin and Don Hawkin.
In fourth place is last year’s Gold Cup winners, Wren’s Ranch Anglers on the boat Wrenegade led by Team Captain Winston Wren. Mr. Wren was joined by anglers Anthony Cummings, Hunter Beall and Erik Waldin along with Boat Captain, Jimmy Garner. The team once again took home the prestigious Westcott Award, which is presented to the team that has the most cumulative points for releases over a consecutive three-year period. It was a battle between Big Dog and Wrenegade as both teams had the same number of points, but Wrenegade won based on time. 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 and is one of the most coveted prizes in competitive sport fishing.