30 January 2018
ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys – Captain John Hagen of Tavernier, Florida, led his team aboard Mdala to the overall win at the 28th annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament that ended Jan. 28.
Team anglers Steve and Eric Pfeifer of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, Tyler Valles of Key Largo, Florida, and mate Cody Gunther of Tavernier together released 13 sailfish for top honors. The final fish was released one minute ahead of the team’s closest competitors, clinching the win.
Team Relentless captured second place with its 13 sails, with Captain Paul Ross at the helm. Anglers included Tavernier resident Jim Hendrix and Debbie David and James David of Hollywood, Florida.
Debbie David also earned Grand Champion Angler and Top Lady Angler awards, scoring six sails.
Tournament director Liz Hill reported that 71 anglers aboard 19 boats released 130 sailfish during the two-day fishing contest.
The tournament was the final leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship that included the December Islamorada Sailfish Tournament and the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament.
Among the 14 registered teams, team Relentless was crowned the overall Gold Cup Series champion for releasing 29 sailfish over the three-tournament challenge. The team secured $24,000 in prize money.

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