Located in the Florida Keys, the Islamorada Fishing Club welcomed 60 anglers on 21 boats for the Captain’s Cup Sailfish Tournament, a single-day fishing tournament with $21,000 on the line for the winning boat. The Captain’s Cup is also the final leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.
This year’s shootout was a day full of multiple hookups for many of the boats. The first doubleheader was called in at 8:54 a.m. by Capt. Roy Lindback aboard his local charter boat, Tiki. Anglers Craig and Seanna Lindback from Islamorada successfully released both fish to take an early lead, and never looked back. Contagious called in a double, as would teams on Que Mas, My Sea Cin, Smile Maker and Still Right throughout the day. Then, with only 20 minutes remaining, Capt. JC Cleare called in a double for Remix. One fish was released, and then the team hooked two more, making it a tripleheader.
When the committee boat called lines out at 4 p.m., Remix was still hooked up to their three fish. Tournament rules allow anglers to fight fish after lines out as long as they have been acknowledged by the committee boat. These fish would not only change standings for the tournament, but also the entire Gold Cup series.
Tiki held on to win the Captain’s Cup with five sailfish releases, taking home beautiful Pasta Pantaleo prints, along with the check for $21,000. Remix released two of the triple to earn second place with four total releases for the day. Capt. Brian Cone’s charter boat, Contagious, placed third with three sailfish on time. Remix tallied enough points to win the title of Florida Keys Gold Cup champions. Their two at the end of the day propelled them into first place in the series with a total of 19 sailfish. Angler Mark Mitchell from Contagious was the top angler for the Gold Cup series with eight sailfish releases.
“The Islamorada Fishing Club Tournament created a great ending to the Florida Keys Gold Cup Series,” says tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “It was a tight race—not only for the teams, but for the champion angler ring as well.”