KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Anglers seeking sailfish can compete for substantial cash prizes in the Final Sail Tournament scheduled Tuesday through Saturday, April 17-21. The tournament is the grand finale of the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series, a prestigious competition for elite billfishing teams that consists of four South Florida tournaments.
According to event organizers, the total purse for the 2017 Final Sail exceeded $868,000 including team and divisional payouts, heaviest fish awards and additional daily prizes.
Awards in the 2018 tournament include $50,000 and a prize package for the team that releases the most sailfish, $18,000 for the second-place team and $10,000 for the team placing third. Prize structure payouts are based on a participating field of 50 boats.
Teams also can choose to compete in a variety of optional entry categories.
Sailfish, blue marlin and white marlin are the primary targets, and all billfish must be released to count for points.
In addition, each boat team can weigh in one of each eligible fun fish species — dolphin fish, wahoo, kingfish, cobia and tuna — for points in a separate prize category.
Plans call for the 2018 tournament to kick off with a party and captains meeting beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at the Margaritaville Resort & Marina at 245 Front St.
Fishing is to take place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 18 and 19, and 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Friday is scheduled as a lay day.
Anglers can socialize at events including happy hour gatherings, a “Duval Crawl” on Key West’s famed Duval Street and a post-awards victory party.
The tournament awards dinner and ceremony is set for 8 p.m. Saturday at the Margaritaville Resort.
The early entry fee is $3,975 per boat if received on or before March 27. The fee enables an unlimited number of anglers to compete on the team and includes six tournament social passes. After March 27, the entry fee is $4,770 per boat.
Event information and registration: bluewatermovements.com
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing