KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Legendary author Ernest Hemingway fished for “big game” in Key West waters during the 1930s, and contemporary anglers can follow his lead Wednesday through Saturday, July 18-21.
Anglers targeting marlin and other fish are to compete for $50,000 in guaranteed cash prizes in the 2018 Havana Club Key West Marlin Tournament, held in conjunction with the island city’s annual Hemingway Days celebration. The tournament concludes on the 119th anniversary of Hemingway’s birth.
The team that accumulates the most points for blue marlin, white marlin and spearfish during the event’s three fishing days earns $25,000, while second- and third-place prizes are $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. All billfish must be released, except potentially record-setting blue marlin that exceed 600 pounds.
Teams also can enter one fun fish (tuna, dolphin fish, wahoo or released sailfish) per boat per day for additional points.
Marlin division competitors can pay an additional fee to compete for $10,000 in the fun fish division. Cash prizes await anglers who catch the three heaviest dolphin fish, three heaviest tuna (yellowfin, blackfin and skipjack) and three heaviest wahoo.
The Key West Marlin Tournament is to begin with a 4-6 p.m. final registration Wednesday, July 18, at the Waterfront Brewery, 201 William St. A captains meeting, auction and raffle are to follow.
Fishing is set for 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 19 and 20, and 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 21. Weigh-ins take place after each day’s fishing on the dock behind the Waterfront Brewery.
Tournament social events include cocktail gatherings, an island-style pig roast and a fish fry. An awards banquet at the Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina, 245 Front St., is scheduled Saturday night.
Entry fees are $1,800 per boat before June 15 ($2,100 thereafter) for two anglers, a captain and mate to compete in the marlin division and attend social events. Each additional angler per boat must pay $200 to fish.
Entry in the fun fish division is an additional $300 per boat.