Reef Cup Falls to Seraphim

The tradition continues at Ocean Reef Club

2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
The Seraphim team emerged victorious in the 2017 Reef Cup.Courtesy Carol Ellis

In early January, 1986, 25 sport-fishing boats hailing from South Florida and as far away as South Carolina and Texas descended upon Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, for the inaugural Reef Cup. During the day, they were treated to some of the hottest sailfish action in the U.S., with dockside celebrations and sumptuous dinners each evening. That tradition continues each year, as the Reef Cup has become one of the Ocean Reef Club’s most highly anticipated annual events.

This year's Reef Cup was held January 17 to 21, 2017, and amid fierce competition, several teams rose to the top of the tournament leaderboard. The team on Seraphim held the hot hand, releasing nine sailfish over the four days of fishing for the win. Vanessa Falk had five of those releases to earn top angler and top lady angler honors for the tournament. The team will have the opportunity to represent the Reef Cup in the prestigious 2017 Offshore World Championship tournament in Costa Rica.

In amazingly tight competition, Lights Out was second with eight sailfish releases and Team Sharky's Revenge was third, also with eight sailfish releases, fishing on Kahuna. Sixty-one teams and 316 anglers released 157 sailfish in the tournament.

2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
Finishing in second was the Lights Out team.Courtesy Carol Ellis
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
Seraphim's Vanessa Falk was the tournament's top angler and top lady angler.Courtesy Carol Ellis
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
The boats return to the Ocean Reef Club after a day offshore.Courtesy Lacy Herlth
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
Spectators line up to watch the returning teams.Courtesy Lacy Herlth
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
The weather conditions were good for the tournament, although the winds were almost too calm for optimal fishing.Courtesy Lacy Herlth
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
The point was a popular gathering spot for spectators.Courtesy Lacy Herlth
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
An aerial view of Seraphim as she makes a move offshore.Courtesy Andre Van Rensburg
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
Cast-netting live bait is critical to fishing success off the Florida Keys.Courtesy Team Bamboo
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
A sailfish takes to the air off Ocean Reef.Courtesy Team Johnny Be Good
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
Another sailfish puts on a tail-walking dance for a lucky angler.Courtesy Team Pisces 5
2017 Reef Cup Tournament Ocean Reef Club
Another view of the fleet as the teams return to the Ocean Reef Club.Courtesy Lacy Herlth

Marlin's editor-in-chief, Andrew Cox, fished the Reef Cup with BAR South. Check out his photo gallery.