04 December 2018
ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — A team of South Florida residents clinched the win at the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament that concluded Sunday, Dec. 2, to kick off the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series.
Tournament veterans Matt McLean and Mark Wodlinger from Naples, Florida, and Islamorada’s Ken Longaker and Robert Helms fished from the Last Dance, led by Islamorada’s Captain Robert Collins, to release 14 sailfish for the overall win and trophy.
McLean also earned the tournament’s high-point angler award with seven releases.
Debbie David of Hollywood, Florida, and her team fished with second-generation charter captain Paul Ross of Islamorada on Relentless, earning the top lady angler award with four releases. She also landed a 65-pound wahoo to garner the event’s most outstanding catch award.
The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the only Gold Cup Series event with a junior angler division for entrants who are age 18 or younger at the start of the tournament. Melbourne, Florida, resident Matthew Williams, 17, captured the junior title. He released two sails while fishing on the Smile Maker with Captain James Chappell.
A field of 20 boats and 79 anglers tallied 138 releases over the three-day tournament, according to organizers.
The remaining two events in the 2019 Gold Cup Series include the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament, set for Jan. 23-24, and the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament Jan. 25-27, when the series culminates and an overall Gold Cup Series champion is crowned.