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28th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament

The 28th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament is the second leg of the prestigious Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship.

The 2018 Tournament will be held January 26-28, 2018. Please mark your calendars to join us again next year!

For more information, please contact Lisa Thornhill at or by phone at (305)-517-4512. 

2017 Presidential Sailfish Tournament Recap


78 anglers fishing on 22 boats released 79 sailfish over the two-day competition

We are excited to share the results of our 27th Annual Presidential Sailfish Tournament held January 26-28, 2017. Forty-seven sailfish were released on the first day of the tournament and 32 were released on the second day, for a total of 79 releases by 78 anglers on 22 boats.

Captain Travis Dickens led the “Indigenous” team to top honors at this year’s event. Anglers Wade Stafford of Merritt Island, FL, Annie Corbeel of Merritt Island, FL, and Mike Walter of Islamorada, FL, took First Place releasing eight sailfish over two days of fishing.

Team Indigenous Angler Annie Corbeel took the Grand Champion Angler Award and the Top Lady Angler Award which is an award dedicated to the memory of Jay Anna Cohan, a beloved member of the Islamorada community along with her husband Kenny. Corbeel took all these honors even though she had to break off a fish that was hooked up within minutes of lines out on Saturday in order to make it back in time.

The Outstanding Captain Award went to Indigenous Captain Travis Dicken. Indigenous’ Aaron Strausbaugh took Outstanding Mate Award.

Second Place went to “Relentless” led by Captain Paul Ross fishing with Anglers Fenton Langston of Ocean Reef, Jim Hendrix of Islamorada, and Debbie and James David of Miami. They released seven sailfish.

“Silent Hunter” out of Keys Fisheries in Marathon earned Third Place honors. Captain James Platt and Anglers John Callion, Kevin McKeon, Cody Darby and Jon Henry released six sailfish.

In a long-standing Presidential Tournament tradition, the “Challenger 2” team of Captain Rob Dixon with Anglers Brian DeVries of Islamorada, FL; Mike Mraz of Grand Rapids, MI; Dan Flynn of Tavernier, FL; and Chris Jones of Plantation Key, FL, won the Most Tagged Fish Division. Team Challenger 2 took this honor in the 26th Annual Presidential Tournament as well.   

The Presidential Champion Junior Angler Award went to 16-year-old James David who released three sailfish aboard “Relentless,” with Captain Paul Ross and Mate Graden Ross.

“This year’s Presidential Sailfish Tournament boasted two days of intense fishing and action-packed events,” says Bob LaCasse, general manager of Cheeca Lodge & Spa. “We were honored to host this esteemed competition, and are pleased that our anglers experienced such great sportfishing. We also really appreciate the support of all of our sponsors,” he added.

The 27th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament is the second leg of the prestigious Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship which culminates in the Islamorada Club Sailfish Tournament which kicks off on Wednesday, January 25, 2017. The Gold Cup Championship boasts up to $30,000 in prize money for the winners.The current Gold Cup standings are “Relentless” with 22 sailfish releases, “Last Dance” with 19, and “HellReyzor” with 17.

The 27th Annual Presidential Tournament sponsors included Caribee, Yamaha, Bluefin, Blue Marlin Jewelry, Islamorada Brewing Co., Pasta Pantaleo, Keys AV, RidestarRx, Deco Productions, Executive Printers, Premier Beverages, Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits, and Sportfish Reel Covers.

Tournament trophies were created by famed Keys marine artist Pasta Pantaleo, and his artwork was also featured on the tournament shirts.

2017 Tournament Sponsors

We graciously acknowledge our generous sponsors:

View Tournament Brochure

View Entry Form

View Tournament Rules

View Schedule of Events

For more information, please contact:

Liz Hill, Tournament Director: (305) 451-5094 or

Lisa Thornhill:  (305) 517-4512 or