27 October 2016
ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Up to 25 boat teams of elite sport fishermen are to compete in the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series held in the waters off Islamorada, abiding by rules that strongly emphasize conservation and sportsmanship.
If a minimum 14 boats register in the overall Gold Cup Series, $20,000 in prize money is to be awarded. Amounts increase as the number of registered boats increases.
The deadline for teams to register for the series is Tuesday, Nov. 15, and the entry fee is $2,000 for four anglers. Additional anglers can be added for $200 apiece. Each of the three tournaments in the series operates independently with its own set of rules and entry fees.
At least one angler must be entered and paid for all three series events by the kickoff of the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, first in the renowned triple-crown sequence.
A primary fundraiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association, the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the only event in the series to offer a junior division for anglers age 16 and younger. 
The all-release boat event opens with pre-registration Thursday, Dec. 1. An unlimited number of anglers is allowed per vessel.
Fishing is scheduled Friday through Sunday, Dec. 2-4, with an awards ceremony Sunday. For details or to register, visit www.islamoradasailfishtournament.com/.  
Second in the series is the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament scheduled Jan. 19-21, 2017. Anglers put 20-pound line and light-tackle skills to the test during the two-day challenge against the high-flying acrobatic fish known for tail-walking the waves. Only circle hooks can be used.
“The Presidential” typically awards sophisticated sculpture trophies to top anglers who release the most sailfish. Visit www.cheeca.com/experience/fishing.   
The Gold Cup Series traditionally concludes with the mid-week final leg, the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament, set for Jan. 25-26, 2017. New and seasoned anglers compete among a field of up to 30 boats, each vying for an attractive cash payout of up to $30,000 in the IFC event. Visit www.theislamoradafishingclub.com.
After all three challenges are completed, the overall Gold Cup Series champions are crowned. Point scoring is determined on both a team and individual basis.
The team scoring the highest number of releases first is deemed the overall team champion. The single angler scoring the highest number of releases first is deemed the high-point angler and is awarded the coveted championship ring.
Gold Cup Series registration: Dianne Harbaugh at 305-522-4868 
Islamorada visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/islamorada or 1-800-FAB-KEYS
Florida Keys fishing: www.fla-keys.com/fishing
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