Florida Keys,
05
January
2024
|
15:58 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

2024 Florida Keys Fishing Tournament Highlights: January Through June

Jan. 5-6: Fish for Holly Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Created to raise money for Keys scholarships and domestic violence initiatives, this memorial tournament honors the late Holly Given, a Keys resident and avid angler. Participants gather at the Islander Resort to compete for overall angler and top male, female and junior angler awards as well top boat and fun fish categories. Visit fishforholly.com.

Jan. 11-14: Key West Kingfish Mayhem. Key West and the Lower Keys. Headquartered at Oceans Edge Marina, the open division of this competitive tournament rewards the team with the heaviest kingfish, also known as a king mackerel, with a $10,000 first prize. The pro division is open only to registrants of the elite multi-leg Kingfish Mayhem Pro Series. Visit meatmayhemtournaments.com/event/leg-one-key-west-kingfish-mayhem-2022/ or email info@meatmayhemtournaments.com

Jan. 16-17: IFC Captain’s Cup Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Presented by the Islamorada Fishing Club, the event is the second leg of the three-pronged Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship trifecta, attracting teams of elite sport fishermen. A total winner-take-all cash payout for a full field at the IFC Sailfish Tournament could reach $25,000. Visit theislamoradafishingclub.com or email ditournaments@aol.com.

Jan. 19-21: Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. One of the most prestigious offshore tournaments in the Florida Keys, the Presidential serves as the final leg of the three-pronged Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship. Visit cheeca.com/presidential.

Jan. 23-24: Al Flutie Over the Hill Rip-Off Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Known as the "Flutie," this all-release sailfish tournament welcomes anglers age 50 and over who compete for awards for the top three teams and high point male and female anglers. Tournament events are headquartered out of Ocean View Inn and Sports Pub, mile marker 84.5 bayside. Proceeds benefit Redbone to “catch the cure” for cystic fibrosis. Visit redbone.org or contact Diane Harbaugh, ditournaments@aol.com.

Jan. 28-29: Islamorada Bartenders Sailfish Open. Islamorada. Headquartered at the Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar, this fun fishing event is open to actively employed Keys bartenders and restaurant employees. Trophies are awarded to individual anglers as well as the bar a team represents, with the huge perpetual trophy going to the winners along with bragging rights for a year. Contact Dianne Harbaugh at 305-522-4868 or email ditournaments@aol.com.

Feb. 2-3: Swamp Guides Ball. Islamorada. In this annual all-release competition, organized by the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association, anglers target three species – bonefish, redfish and snook. The tournament benefits the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Foundation and the Guides Trust Foundation, organizations that provide funds to people in the local fishing industry in times of need. Visit fkfga.org.

Feb. 2-4: Islamorada Women’s Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. In this light-tackle challenge, awards await the grand champion team (boat), first runner-up and second runner-up team, captain and mate. Other awards are presented for the high-point angler, outstanding catch and largest tuna, dolphin fish and kingfish. Proceeds benefit Florida Keys charities. Contact Tammy Gurgiolo, 305-240-9337 or fishnbully@msn.com.

Feb. 6-7: Poor Girls Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Women anglers vie for trophies awarded to the first-, second- and third-place teams, grand champion and runner-up grand champion anglers, as well as for the largest dolphin fish, kingfish and tuna. Kick-off and awards events are held at the Islander Resort. The competition benefits Upper Keys Veterinary Hospital’s Spay and Neuter Fund and the Shriners Children’s Hospital. Visit castingforcats.org/poor-girls-sailfish-tournament.

Feb. 8-10: Cuda Bowl. Key West and the Lower Keys. Shallow-water flats anglers and guides are invited to hook up and fight their barracuda rivals. The event is headquartered at South of the Seven Restaurant on Sugarloaf Key. Prizes are awarded in spin and fly divisions. Top scoring female and junior anglers are also recognized. Visit cudabowl.com or email info@cudabowl.com.

March 1-2: Backcountry Fly Championship Series. Islamorada. Tournament anglers are to compete to catch the most inches of snook and redfish on fly in a challenge where 1-inch equals one point. Awards are to be given to the grand champion and runner-up, and to the anglers who catch the largest snook and redfish. The field is limited to 30 boats. Visit BFCtournament.com.

March 5-9: Jimmy Johnson's ‘Quest for the Ring’ Championship Fishing Week. Hosted by Jimmy Johnson, two-time Super Bowl winning coach and former head coach at the University of Miami, the prestigious event includes multiple tournament options, the most prominent being the 2-day Billfish Competition with a guaranteed total purse of at least $1 million and the Superbowl-style championship ring. A separate sportfish tournament and the annual Celebrity Pro-Am round out tournament week. Visit questfortheringfl.com.

March 11-14: March Merkin Invitational Permit Tournament. Key West and the Lower Keys. This charity flats-and-fly-only tournament challenges anglers to catch and release silvery permit to vie for elite titles. The event is held at Oceans Edge Resort & Marina in Key West. Visit marchmerkin.com.

April 5-7: Spanish Fly Shark Tournament. Key West. The most bull sharks caught wins in this new catch-and-release shark tournament that is focused on increasing knowledge about bull sharks in the Florida Keys. This is the only tournament in the Keys with both inshore and offshore divisions. Visit keywestsharktournament.com.

April 11-13: Key West Sailfish Tournament. Key West. The inaugural Key West Sailfish Tournament is expected to bring world-class teams for a two-day shootout style event, battling it out for the top of the leaderboard and prize money. Visit kwst.profishingtournaments.com.

April 18-20: Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament. Marathon. A boat tournament with a release format, the challenge benefits Mission Fishin’, a South Florida nonprofit that helps fund marine adventures for foster children, youngsters with special needs and their families. Prizes are to be awarded to the top three boat teams and top male, female and junior anglers among others. Visit marathonsailfish.com.

April 21-24: Herman Lucerne Memorial Tarpon Cup. Islamorada. The Islamorada-based Herman Lucerne Memorial Tarpon Cup features 25 guided anglers competing to catch and release the most tarpon over 4 feet in length on 16-pound tippet. For more information, visit hermanlucernememorial.com.

April 28-May 2: Tarponian Tournament. Marathon. Rules of this high-energy three-evening tournament mandate that each team fishes with a different captain each outing. Teams also rotate among the three major bridge channels in Marathon, so any potential “hot spots” are shared among all anglers. Call 215-542-1492 or email dbreznicky@breznickyassociates.com.

May 3-5: Tom Thumb Marathon Bull and Cow Dolphin Tournament. Marathon. Up to $25,000 in cash and prizes awaits the top anglers who catch the largest bull and cow dolphin fish combined, while other prizes are awarded to anglers catching the largest dolphin, wahoo, tuna and tripletail. Visit marathonoffshoretournament.com.

May 3-5: Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo. Islamorada. Honoring the memory of Nick Sheahan, a Florida Keys student, this tournament benefits a namesake community scholarship fund that has distributed over $360,000 to date. Hosted at Tavernier Creek Marina, the event features cash prizes and $25,000 to the angler with a dolphin fish that beats the state record. Visit nicksheahan.com.

May 5-9: 37th Annual Bob Traa Faro Blanco Invitational Tarpon Tournament. Marathon. Newly renamed to honor tournament founder Bob Traa, this team event allows two to four anglers per team/boat, who fish three nights with three different captains at three different bridges: Bahia Honda, Long Key and the world-famous Seven Mile. Proceeds from the charity tournament benefit Ronald McDonald House. Contact Donna Vankirk at 305-393-0699 or captdonna1@aol.com.

May 17-19: ‘Ladies Let’s Go Fishing’ Screamin’ Reels Tournament. Islamorada. Intended for novice anglers, this weekend is about learning and a nonintimidating, fun competition with the “Ladies Let’s Go Fishing” university organizers. Participants can charter a professional boat or fish on their own boat. This is a casual tournament with prizes for the heaviest offshore fish and longest inshore fish, drawings for prizes for those who caught fish and bonus drawings. Visit ladiesletsgofishing.com.

May 19-22: Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament. Islamorada. The Golden Fly attracts top fly anglers and world class guides to test their skills in this three-day, invitation only, fly fishing tournament staged out of the Lorelei Restaurant and Marina. Winners receive custom art and sculpture from notable wildlife artists as well as the latest gear and apparel from the premiere fly-fishing brands in the industry. Visit goldenfly.org

May 31-June 2: 9th Annual Skippers Dolphin Tournament. Key Largo. Headquartered at Skippers Dockside Restaurant behind Key Largo’s Holiday Inn, this tournament pays cash prizes of over $60,000, including a first-place prize of $20,000 as well as prizes for the top six teams and top lady and junior anglers. Visit skipperstournaments.com or email ditournaments@aol.com.

June 3-7: 50th Annual Don Hawley Tarpon Fly Tournament. Islamorada. Up to 25 of the world’s top fly-rod anglers endure a five-day test of patience and finesse, fishing Keys waters using fly tackle and 12-pound tippet. Named for the late fly fisherman and conservationist Don Hawley, the tournament benefits the Guides Trust Foundation, assisting professional fishing guides and supporting backcountry fishery conservation programs. Visit guidestrustfoundation.org.

June 7-9: 31st Annual Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce Dolphin Tournament. Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys. Anglers contend for over $35,000 in cash prizes and awards in this popular annual tournament. A cash prize of $20,000 is given for the largest dolphin fish over 50 pounds. Additional prizes await winners in open, ladies and youth divisions. Visit lowerkeyschamber.com/chamber-events/.

June 7-9: Ladies Dolphin Tournament. Tavernier. Hosted by the Florida Keys Elks Lodge, this event welcomes female angler teams to compete for the highest aggregate weight of three dolphin fish. Cash and prizes are awarded to first- through third-place finishers and for the largest dolphin caught. Visit floridakeyselks1872.com or email ditournaments@aol.com.

June 11-13: Ladies Tarpon Fly Tournament. Islamorada. Hosted by Florida Keys Outfitters, this is an all release, fly fishing invitational tournament for women held each June during the height of the famed tarpon migration. Started in 1977, the tournament represents a rich history of women who love the sport of saltwater fly fishing. Visit ladiestarponfly.org or call 1-305-484-4336.

June 14-15: Father’s Day Dolphin Derby: Marathon. This popular dolphin tournament pays out cash and prizes to the top four adults with the heaviest fish. Proceeds benefit the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation. Visit fathersdaydolphintournament.com.

June 14-16: VFW Fishing Tournament. Key West. A family fun tournament, this event awards over $15,000 in total cash and prizes including $5,000 for the heaviest dolphin fish. All proceeds benefit disabled and needy veterans in Monroe County. Email vfw391110@yahoo.com.

June 17-21: 61st Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. Islamorada. This annual challenge appeals to “tarpon addicts”; experienced anglers apply to compete in what is referred to locally as the “Wimbledon of tarpon fishing.” Headquartered at the Lorelei Restaurant and Marina, the all-release event is limited to 25 anglers by invitation only. Proceeds benefit the Guides Trust Foundation of the Florida Keys. Visit goldcuptt.com.

June 20-23: Key West Gator Club Dolphin Derby. Key West. Tournament information TBA.

June 20-22. University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Fishing Tournament. Islamorada. After moving to Miami for several years, the event returns in 2024 to the Florida Keys. The tournament raises funds for the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Ari Arteaga Foundation and the UM Sports Hall of Fame. Visit canesfish.com or contact Diane Harbaugh, ditournaments@aol.com.

June 21-23: Florida Keys PBA Dolphin Tournament. Stock Island. Hosted by volunteers on behalf of the Florida Keys Police Benevolent Association, the tournament targets dolphin fish and is headquartered on Stock Island. Cash prizes await the first- through fourth-place anglers and the top junior, female and PBA member anglers. Proceeds primarily benefit the Autism Society of the Keys and the Love Fund Inc. Visit keysdolphintournament.com.

June 26-27: IFC Captain’s Cup Dolphin Tournament. Islamorada. Teams of up to four anglers compete for top prizes, and the total combined weight of three fish determines the winning team in this Islamorada Fishing Club tournament. If up to 25 boats register, first-prize cash winnings can reach $25,000. Visit theislamoradafishingclub.com or contact Diane Harbaugh, ditournaments@aol.com.

Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS

Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing

Florida Keys fishing tournaments: fla-keys.com/calendar/fishing

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