Best Seafood Fest yet Key West

Chamber estimates seafood fest was biggest yet
By organizers’ accounts, this year was the biggest yet for the Original Marathon Seafood Festival.

The Marathon Chamber of Commerce and the Marathon chapter of the Organized Fishermen of Florida estimate slightly more than 20,000 people attended the event held at Marathon Community Park last Saturday and Sunday. Last year, the Chamber counted about 18,000 people.

“I know we beat out last year on beer kegs,” said Chamber CEO Daniel Samess. Attendees drained about 145 kegs of beer this year.

“We ran out of everything,” said Marathon Councilman and commercial fisherman Pete Worthington. “At 4:30 we were totally out of fish.”

“What’s real encouraging is that the majority of our festival goers are from out of county,” Samess said. “It’s a real heads in beds initiative, which is great for our local economy.”

Steady crowds packed the events fields all day Saturday and Sunday while local musicians played in the amphitheater and vendors sold their wares. Climbing walls, bungee jumps and bounce rooms were just a few of the activities for children and raucous adults.

“We try to add a little bit every year,” Samess said. “We had more kids’ rides this year. We added the art guild in the parking lot. We sold out every vendor spot. We’ve been steadily increasing the quality of our vendors.”

Fishermen agreed that things are looking up for the festival.

“The quality is up. The quantity is up,” said Bennett Orr, of OFF’s board of directors. “It gives us a chance to talk to people we don’t talk to.”

The festival is a leg up during a hard time for the commercial fishing industry.

“It’s been a tough year, with the deflated prices,” Worthington said. “It kind of feels like there’s an awful lot of product coming in to the U.S. from overseas. And the restaurant business has fallen off. The only savior to the season was we didn’t have a hurricane.”

Orr stressed the fishing industry is an important part of Marathon’s history, and important to share with the community.

“Commercial fishing has been here before any tourist in town,” he said. “It supported Marathon from the beginning. We’re trying to say that this is what it’s all about. We’re just trying to remind you of our heritage.”

But sharing history isn’t all the festival allows OFF, or the Chamber, to do.

“We support every nonprofit in town,” Orr said of the funds raised from the event. “We go overboard. We’re great supporters of Marathon High School … their scholarship program. We’re dedicated to the Marathon youth club, soccer, mostly it’s all directed to the kids.”

Beyond donations to the children, the community as a whole benefits as well.

“Unused paper goods and cans go to Grace Jones Day Care center. Everything that can be is purchased locally,” Orr said.

A portion of the funds are also sent to the main state office of OFF to help cover the costs of lobbying on fisheries management issues.

The Chamber said it’s portion of funds also supports the community.

“This allows us to sponsor nonprofits throughout the year,” Samess said. “As the seafood festival is more successful, it allows us to increase our budget,” which goes to advertising the area and scholarships, among other things.

Up next for the Chamber is a new event, Conchtoberfest at Hawks Cay resort. The event will draw together the tourist resort and local businesses by hosting a themed party at a different restaurant every night after the main fair-style event at the resort.

“It’s Octoberfest with a Keys twist,” Samess said. “Keys cuisine, vendors and music.”

Samess said the Chamber is putting out a lot of new ideas, but being careful not to spread itself too thin.

“We want to focus on these new initiatives and grow them,” he said. “But I want to encourage other people to do events, like the Dragon Boats and National Pig Day. We support that as much as we can. We’re going to help with advice, direction. We’ll always be involved.”

Key West Fishing Tournament’s Kickoff 2010

Fifteen target species and $5,000 in cash prizes are to be key figures in the Key West Fishing Tournament’s Kickoff 2010 with Conchy Joe’s Marine & Tackle.

The angling action is scheduled for March 13 and 14.

Participants are to vie for cash awards for catching the heaviest dolphin, kingfish, cobia, blackfin tuna, mackerel, mutton snapper, wahoo, mangrove snapper and grunt. In addition, cash awaits the boat teams that score the most releases of tarpon, permit, bonefish, barracuda, marlin and sailfish.

Awards also are to be presented in the tournament’s junior division for anglers under age 15.

The final registration for the tournament is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 12 at the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort, 3990 S. Roosevelt Blvd.

On the following two days, anglers can fish from lines-in at 8:30 a.m. to lines-out at 3 p.m. An awards dinner is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sunday at the DoubleTree Grand Key.

The entry fee for the kick-off tournament is $200 per boat, with a maximum of six anglers allowed to fish per boat. Cost for the awards dinner is $25 per person.

Entries in the kickoff also are eligible for the Key West Fishing Tournament, which runs through Nov. 30 and is open to the general public. More than 40 species of fish are targeted during the Key West Fishing Tournament, with divisions for men, women, junior anglers (ages 10 to 14) and Pee Wees (under 10 years old). Visiting and resident anglers can enter their catches at no charge at tournament weigh stations during the angling challenge.

The Key West Fishing Tournament strongly encourages the release of all game fish and will not recognize any killed sailfish, marlin, spearfish or tarpon for award purposes. All participating anglers receive certificates noting their catches and qualify for a variety of prizes.

For more information about the Key West Fishing Tournament and its kickoff contest, click here, send an e-mail to director@keywestfishingtournament.com or call (800) 970-9056.

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2010 Florida Key Fishing Tournament Schedule

Jan. 7-9: Sailfish Open at Hawks Cay. Marathon. Teams of professional anglers and amateur enthusiasts will compete in the catch-and-release tournament in the waters around Marathon. Contact Laura Emmole at (305) 395-3474 or (727) 631-0072, e-mail lemmole@worldsailfish.com or visit thesailfishopen.com.

Jan. 7-10: CANCELED Sailbone Offshore & Backcountry. Islamorada. Three days of fishing in the backcountry and offshore have anglers competing for both sailfish and bonefish. Contact Sharon Mahoney Ellenwood at (305) 664-2012 or (305) 393-6174, or e-mail sharellen@netzero.net.

Jan 10-11: Bartender’s Sailfish Open. Islamorada. An all-release sailfish tournament, this challenge offers awards to winning bars and bartenders. Contact Dianne Harbaugh at (305) 852-2102, e-mail ditournaments@aol.com, visit islamoradasailfishtournament.com or write to P.O. Box 462, Islamorada FL 33036.

Jan 12-14: Islamorada SailFly Championship. In this all-release boat team tournament with no more than two anglers per boat allowed, captains, mates or anglers can tease, but only the registered anglers can cast, hook and play the fish. Tournament rules will be IGFA format. Contact Denise Scoble or Sandy Moret at (305) 664-5423, e-mail sandy@floridakeysoutfitters.com or write to P.O. Box 603, Islamorada FL 33036.

Jan. 15-17: Key Largo Sailfish Challenge. Key Largo. Anglers battle sailfish during the peak of the season. The tournament also features raffles, drawings and cash prizes. Contact Tammie Gurgiolo at (305) 852-9337 or e-mail fishnbully@msn.com.

Jan. 21-23: Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. In this all-release tournament, anglers fish for the mighty sailfish in waters surrounding the region known as the Sportfishing Capital of the World. The tournament is an official event of the World Billfish Series, Southeast Division. Contact Liz Hill at (305) 451-5094, e-mail presidentialsailfishtournament@cheeca.com, visit cheeca.com or write to Cheeca Lodge, P.O. Box 527, Islamorada FL 33036.

Jan. 22-24: Key West Harbour King Mackerel Tournament. Key West. Anglers use fast boats to target the voracious king mackerel, also known as kingfish, for cash prizes. Contact Lee Murray at (305) 296-0364, e-mail lee@murraymarine.com or write to Murray Marine, 5710 U.S. 1, Mile Marker 5, Key West FL 33040.

Jan. 25-26: Captain Al Flutie Over the Hill Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Anglers ages 50 and over are challenged to catch and release the most sailfish. Contact Bill Kelly at (305) 394-5333 or write to 130 Tequesta St., Tavernier, FL 33070; or contact Gary Ellis at (305) 664-2002, e-mail redboneinc@aol.com, visit redbone.org or write to P.O. Box 273, Islamorada FL 33036.

Jan. 27-28: Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. The historic fishing club offers a $30,000 winner-take-all cash prize in this sailfish challenge. The tournament is limited to 30 boats. Contact Dianne Harbaugh at (305) 852-2102 or (305) 664-4725, e-mail fishing@theislamoradafishinglclub.com or visit theislamoradafishingclub.com.

Jan. 29-30: Florida Keys Fishing Guides Association Swamp Guides Ball. Islamorada. This all-release event offers fishing for bonefish, redfish and snook in the shallows of the Florida Keys and the saltwater fringes of the Everglades. Contact Captain Rusty and Terry Albury at (305) 664-5142, e-mail talbury@aol.com or write to P.O. Box 303, Islamorada FL 33036.

Feb. 4-6: Billfish Bowl. An all-release sailfish tournament hosted by NFL legends Jimmy Johnson and Mike Ditka to raise money for the nonprofit group Gridiron Greats. The event will take place at the Big Chill bar and restaurant in Key Largo. Contact 866-203-2720 or visit billfishbowl.com.

Feb. 12-14: Islamorada Women’s Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. This light-tackle challenge has female anglers facing off against the famous tail-dancers for trophies and prizes. Contact Tammie Gurgiolo at 305-852-9337, E-mail or write to 124 Tavern Drive, Tavernier FL 33070.

Feb. 16-17: Poor Girls Sailfish Tournament. Key Largo and Islamorada. This popular Keys tournament typically draws more than 200 anglers. Contact Sharon Mahoney Ellenwood at 305-664-2012 or E-mail.

Feb. 26-27: Backcountry Fly Championship. Islamorada. This new fly-fishing competition is to target snook and redfish in a region of the Keys that is famous for them. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

March 5-6: Backbone Lures “Fish ‘Til You Lose It.” Islamorada. Anglers compete to catch the finned denizens of the flats and backcountry, fishing with one lure or one fly until they lose it. Contact Paul Tejera via E-mail or visit backbonelures.com.

March 5-7: Captain Leon Shell Memorial Billfish Tournament. Key Colony Beach. Anglers pursue sailfish in honor of the late lure maker who made the Middle Florida Keys his home. The tournament benefits Hospice of the Florida Keys. Contact Terry Fisher at (305) 289-1310, E-mail or visit leonshelltournament.com or write to P.O. Box 510910, Key Colony Beach FL 33051-0910.

March 11-14: Florida Keys Survivor. Islamorada. In this backcountry elimination draw tournament, the winner is the sole survivor. Contact Sharon Mahoney Ellenwood at (305) 664-2012 or (305) 393-6174, or send an E-mail.

March 12-14: Key West Fishing Tournament Kick-Off. Key West & Lower Keys. Targeting multiple species, this annual challenge starts a season-long tournament that awards certificates for outstanding catches and prizes in a host of categories. Contact Doris Harris at (305) 295-6601, E-mail or visit keywestfishingtournament.com or write to P.O. Box 2154, Key West, FL 33045.

March 13 – Nov. 30: Key West Fishing Tournament, Inc. Key West & Lower Keys. This popular 8.5-month-long competition targets more than 40 species of fish. Contact Doris Harris at (305) 295-6601 or (800) 970-9056, E-mail or visit keywestfishingtournament.com or write to P.O. Box 2154, Key West, FL 33045.

April 7-9: Islamorada All-Tackle Spring Bonefish Tournament. Islamorada. Anglers compete to catch the gray ghost of the flats in the legendary shallows surrounding Islamorada. This all-release tournament features trophies and prizes. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-942-0428, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

April 10: 7 Mile Marina Marathon Sharkathon. Marathon. Take a bite out of Marathon as anglers match skills in catching multiple shark species during this one-day, man-versus-shark release tournament. Contact Dan Rudacille 305-395-0546 or click here to register.

April 13-17: World Sailfish Championship. Key West. With a guaranteed top prize of $100,000, the prestigious sailfish challenge draws top teams and benefits the Don Shula Foundation for Breast Cancer Research, Camp Boggy Creek for youngsters with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, and other national and local charities. Contact Mike Weinhofer 305-395-3474 or 727-631-0072, E-mail, visit worldsailfish.com or write 2120 Range Road, Clearwater FL 33765.

April 16-18: Redbone @ Large Hawks Cay Sunrise/Sunset Tarpon Celebrity Tournament. Marathon. The event is one of approximately 30 Redbone celebrity tournaments that are held each year, with all proceeds benefiting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Contact Gary Ellis at 305-664-2002, E-mail or visit redbone.org or write to P.O. Box 273, Islamorada FL 33036.

May 2-5: Tarponian Tournament. Marathon. Anglers target tarpon and vie for prizes in this high-energy event. Contact David Breznicky at 215-542-1492, E-mail or write to 118 W Butler Ave., Ambler PA 19002.

May 6-8: Marathon International Tarpon Tournament. Marathon. This all-release event is one of the longest-running tournaments targeting the mighty silver king. Contact Donna Vankirk at 305-289-2248, E-mail or write to 3740 Overseas Highway, Marathon FL 33050.

May 7-8: Mother’s Day Dolphin Tournament. Marathon. Dolphin fish are the target in this angling challenge to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Contact Michael Kiraly at 305-676-3019, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 500067, Marathon FL 33050.

May 14-16: Coconuts Dolphin Tournament. Key Largo. One of the largest-drawing tournaments in South Florida, this challenge named for a Key Largo restaurant pits anglers against dolphin fish. Contact Charles Mountain at 561-741-1124, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 2648, Key Largo FL 33037.

May 15-20: Faro Blanco Invitational Tarpon Tournament. Marathon. Anglers tangle with silver kings in an event named for a famous Marathon resort. The tournament is a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House charities’ summer camp program. Contact Robert Traa at 609-645-1840, ext. 115, E-mail or write 776 West Black Horse Pike, Pleasantville NJ 08232.

May 17-19: Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament. Islamorada. This prestigious fly tournament for large tarpon benefits college scholarships for Keys students. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

May 22-23: 34th Annual Ladies Tarpon Tournament. Marathon. Women compete in this all-release tournament to catch tarpon in one of the longest-running tournaments in the Keys. Contact Donna Vankirk at 305-289-2248, E-mail or write to 3740 Overseas Highway, Marathon FL 33050.

May 29: Yamaha Dolphin Masters Invitational. Key West. Experienced offshore captains are to lead the chase for the colorful and acrobatic dolphin fish and a $15,000 first prize. Contact John Stuempfig at 305-304-7674, e-mail E-mail or write to P.O. Box 2418, Key West FL 33045.

June 2-3: Islamorada Fishing Club Captain’s Cup Dolphin Tournament. Islamorada. Anglers compete for a winner-take-all $25,000 jackpot for catching dolphin fish. Contact Theresa Reineman at 305-664-4735, E-mail, visit theislamoradafishingclub.com or write to P.O. Box 22, Islamorada FL 33036.

June 4-6: Islamorada Dolphin Tournament. Islamorada. Hosted by the Islamorada Charterboat Association, this second annual event is headquartered at Whale Harbor Marina, with $15,000 in prize money and an unlimited number of anglers. Contact Dianne Harbaugh at 305-852-2102 or E-mail.

June 7-11: Don Hawley Tarpon Tournament. Islamorada. The world’s top fly-rod anglers pursue the mighty silver kings in one of the most storied tournaments in the Keys. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

June 11-13: Big Pine & Lower Keys Dolphin Tournament. Big Pine Key. Anglers compete to catch dolphin fish, one of the most popular species in the Keys. The tournament features more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. Contact the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce at 305-872-2411 or 800-872-3722, E-mail, visit lowerkeyschamber.com or write to P.O. Box 430511, Big Pine Key FL 33043.

June 15-17: Women’s Fly Series – Tarpon. Islamorada. This invitational fly tournament for tarpon, open to men and women, benefits children’s charities. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at (305) 664-2444, visit womensflyseries.com, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

June 18-19: Island Grill Blue Water Dolphin Tournament. Islamorada. The event incorporates a one-day dolphin tournament, with an optional Father/Son Fun Fish on Father’s Day weekend, to benefit Baptist Hospital’s Children’s Cancer Center. Contact Jack McCormick at 305-664-8400, E-mail, visit keysislandgrill.com or write to 85501 Overseas Highway, Islamorada FL 33036.

June 19-21: Father’s Day Dolphin Derby. Marathon. Anglers are to celebrate Father’s Day by catching one of the most beautiful, best-tasting and fastest-growing fish in the sea to benefit the Marathon Youth Club. Contact Jack Carlson at 305-289-0199 or write to 11499 Overseas Highway, Marathon FL 33050.

June 21-25: Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. Islamorada. Fly rodders compete to catch and release giant tarpon. Winners and their guides get their names engraved on the Gold Cup perpetual trophy. Tournament proceeds benefit children’s charities in the Keys. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada, FL 33036.

June 25-27: Key West Gator Club Dolphin Derby. Key West. Anglers compete to catch dolphin fish, a plentiful summertime treat off the Keys. The derby raises money for college scholarships. Contact John Stuempfig at 305-304-7674, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 2418, Key West FL 33045.

June 25-27: Burdines Waterfront Dolphin & Blackfin Fun Fishing Tournament. Marathon. This 10th annual event sponsored by a popular local restaurant targets two of the finest-tasting fish in the Keys. Contact Brenda Duff at (305) 743-5317, E-mail or write to 1200 Oceanview Ave., Marathon FL 33050.

July 3: Conch Republic Ladies’ Dolphin Tournament. Key West. This competition is for women only, although male captains and mates are allowed. Contact John Stuempfig at 305-304-7674, E-mail or write P.O. Box 2418, Key West FL 33045.

July 9-11: Hawks Cay Mahi Fly (Redbone @ Large Series). Marathon. Professionalism, camaraderie and competition characterize this event that benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Contact Tammie Gurgiolo at 305-852-9337, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 432, Islamorada FL 33036.

July 13-15: Florida Keys Outfitters IGFA Inshore World Championship. Islamorada. Tournament winners from around the world compete for one of the most prized trophies in angling. The tournament features inshore fishing for permit, tarpon, bonefish, redfish and snook. Contact Denise Scoble or Sandy Moret at 305-664-5423, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 603, Islamorada FL 33036

July 21-23: Del Brown Permit Tournament. Key West. Anglers fly-fish on the flats for the powerful, speedy permit. The tournament honors the late angling pioneer Del Brown, who caught and released more than 500 permit off the Keys. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

July 21-24: Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament. Key West. Anglers pursue the mightiest of the offshore species in the same waters plied by novelist Ernest Hemingway. The catch-and-release tournament, held in conjunction with Key West’s annual Hemingway Days celebration, offers more than $50,000 in guaranteed prize money. Contact Scott Greene at 305-292-2710, visit keywestmarlin.com or write to P.O. Box 5590, Key West FL 33045.

July 25-26: Islamorada Fishing Club RedGhost Stalk. Islamorada. Anglers compete to catch redfish and bonefish, the gray ghost of the flats. Winners qualify for the IGFA Inshore Championship. The tournament is open to anglers ages 11 to 25. Contact Jim and Sherri Trice at 305-664-3864, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 22, Islamorada, FL 33036.

Aug. 27-29: Islamorada Swordfish Tournament. Islamorada. Anglers compete to catch swordfish, a species that has recovered to healthy populations off the Keys. This modified release tournament benefits the Billfish Foundation. Contact Captain Richard Peeples at 305-282-1006, E-mail or visit miamiswordfishtournament.com.

Sept. 10-12: S.L.A.M. (Southernmost Light-Tackle Anglers Masters) Celebrity Tournament. Key West. In the first of the annual fall Redbone Trilogy events that raise money to fight cystic fibrosis, top anglers and celebrities target tarpon, permit and bonefish with light tackle. Contact Gary Ellis at 305-664-2002, E-mail, visit redbone.org or write to P.O. Box 273, Islamorada FL 33036.

Sept. 15-17: Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Bonefish Tournament. Islamorada. Fly anglers are to pursue Islamorada bonefish, some of the largest and smartest in the world, at this all-release tournament. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036

Sept. 16-19: Marathon International Bonefish Tournament. Marathon. Some of the best bonefish anglers anywhere are to stalk the gray ghost of the flats in an area rich with them. This is an all-release spin or fly event. Contact Nancy Ponzoa at 305-394-7758 or E-mail, call Laural Keating at 305-743-6654 or write to P.O. Box 500914, Marathon FL 33050.

Sept. 17-19: Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge. Key Largo. Anglers fish for snook and redfish to benefit a statewide scholarship program. Contact Sue Finney at 305-451-2467, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 252, Key Largo FL 33037.

Sept. 25-26: Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Tournament. Key Largo. Up to 100 anglers will be competing for snook, tarpon, redfish, sea trout, snapper, bonefish and black drum against the backdrop of Everglades National Park. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

Oct. 1-3: Mercury Baybone Celebrity Tournament. Key Largo. The second of three tournaments in the annual Redbone Trilogy, the Baybone targets permit and bonefish to raise money for cystic fibrosis research. Contact Gary Ellis at 305-664-2002, E-mail, visit redbone.org or write to P.O. Box 273, Islamorada FL 33036.

Oct. 6-8: Women’s Fall Fly Classic – Multiple Species. Previously called the Women’s World Invitational Fly Championship Bonefish Series, the revamped all-release, fly-only tournament is to have anglers fishing for four different species. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, visit womensflyseries.com/index.html, or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

Oct. 11-15: Bonefishing World Championship / Islamorada All-Tackle Bonefish Tournament. Islamorada. Some of the best bonefish anglers compete to catch and release the gray ghost of the flats. Proceeds are to be donated to local charities. Contact Charlotte Ambrogio at 305-664-2444, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 1063, Islamorada FL 33036.

Oct. 15-16: Casting for Cats. Islamorada. This one-day ladies’ all-tackle backcountry tournament raises money for local charities. Contact Sharon Mahoney Ellenwood at 305-664-2012 or 305-393-6174, visit castingforcats.org or E-mail.

Nov. TBA: Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing. Islamorada. Female anglers polish their skills and fish in an event sponsored by the fishing education and advocacy group Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing! Contact Betty Bauman at 954-475-9068, E-mail, visit ladiesletsgofishing.com or write to P.O. Box 550429, Fort Lauderdale FL 33355.

Nov. 5-7: Mercury Redbone Celebrity Tournament. Islamorada. Celebrities and other anglers catch bonefish and redfish to raise money for cystic fibrosis research in the final event of the annual Redbone Trilogy. Contact Gary Ellis at 305-664-2002, E-mail, visit redbone.org or write to P.O. Box 273, Islamorada, FL 33036.

Nov. 27-28: Islamorada Fishing Club Junior Derby. Islamorada. All species count for points in this competition for young anglers, with the most points awarded for bonefish and permit. Contact Jim and Sherri Trice at 305-664-3864, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 22, Islamorada FL 33036.

Dec. 2-5: Islamorada Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. This competition is the first leg of the triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Championship Series. The tournament is one of the oldest in the Florida Keys. Contact Dianne Harbaugh at 305-852-2102, E-mail, visit islamoradasailfishtournament.com or write to P.O. Box 462, Islamorada, FL 33036.

Dec. 8-9: Islamorada Fishing Club Captain’s Cup Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Anglers compete for a winner-take-all $25,000 jackpot for catching and releasing sailfish. Contact Dianne Harbaugh at 305-852-2102, E-mail, visit islamoradasailfishtournament.com or write to P.O. Box 22, Islamorada FL 33036.

Dec. 10-12: Captain Don Gurgiolo Sailfish Classic. Islamorada. This all-release tournament offers anglers a chance to pursue sailfish in Captain Don’s memory. Contact Tammie Gurgiolo at 305-852-9337, E-mail or write to P.O. Box 432, Islamorada FL 33036.

Dec. 17-19: Islamorada Junior Sailfish Tournament. Islamorada. Now in its 45th year, the event allows anglers through age 16 to target sailfish. All anglers are to receive trophies. Contact Tammie Gurgiolo at 305-852-9337, E-mail or write to 124 Tavern Drive, Tavernier FL 33070.