Following is a press release with results from the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament:

Main Attraction Takes Top Honors at The 29th Annual
Cheeca Lodge & Spa Presidential Sailfish Tournament
73 anglers fishing on 19 boats released 82 sailfish
over gripping two-day competition

ISLAMORADA, FL (Jan. 30, 2019) – Cheeca Lodge & Spa’s 29th Annual Presidential Sailfish Tournament, the third leg of the Florida Keys’ Gold Cup Series, hosted 73 competitive anglers this past weekend in the sportfishing capital of the world. Clinching first place,Team Main Attraction earned overall champion honors releasing a total of ten sailfish. Team members included Mark Busch, Clint Rodamer, Daniel Roberts and Shelby Bentley, all from Marathon, FL. Outstanding Captain and Mate Awards went to Main Attraction Captain Marty Lewis and Mates Clint Rodamer and Danny Lombardo.

We were honored to host this esteemed tournament and thrilled with the impressive competitive spirit this year’s showcase brought. We appreciate the tremendous support of our anglers and sponsors, and are proud to be part of the Florida Keys Gold Cup,” says Bob LaCasse, General Manager of Cheeca Lodge & Spa.“

Overall 50 sailfish were released on the first day of the tournament and 32 were released on the second day, for a total of 114 hookups and 82 releases by 73 anglers on 19 boats.

The Grand Champion Angler Award, sponsored by Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, went to Mike Varney of Key Largo, FL, on The Indigenous captained by Travis Dickens for five releases.

The Top Lady Angler Award sponsored by Blue Marlin Jewelry went to Michelle Espinosa of Miami, FL, for five releases onboard the Remix captained by JC Cleare of Miami. The Top Lady Angler Award is dedicated to the memory of Jay Anna and Kenny Cohan, beloved members of the Islamorada community.

Second Place went to Team HellReyzer led by Captain Ryan Alexander of Cutler Bay, FL. HellReyzer released ten sailfish with anglers Rey Acosta, Travis Upchurch, Jorge Corzo, Mike Acosta of Pinecrest, FL. Team Indigenous earned Third Place honors. Captain Travis Dickens of Islamorada, FL, and anglers Wade Stafford of Merritt Island, FL; Coleman Wherly of Melbourne, FL; Mike Varney of Key Largo, FL; and Wade Stafford of Merritt Island, FL; Coleman Wherly of Melbourne, FL; Mike Varney of Key Largo, FL; and Mark Toledo of Ft. Lauderdale, FL released nine sailfish.

In a long-standing Presidential Tournament tradition of conservation, the Mdala team won the Most Tagged Fish Award, captained by John Hagen with Angler Mike Walter, both of Islamorada, FL.

Tournament trophies were created by famed Keys artists Pasta Pantaleo and David Wirth, as well as Inside Design of Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Pasta Pantaleo’s artwork was also featured on the tournament shirts, buckets and caddies.

The 29th Annual Presidential Tournament Title Sponsors included Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, Yamaha Outboards and Keys Audio Visual. Partner sponsors included BlueFin USA, Pasta Pantaleo, Blue Marlin Jewelry, EG Vodka, Cruzan Rum, Executive Printers of Florida, Florida Keys Brewing Company, Keys Audio Visual and RideStarRX.

 Live scoring for the 29th Annual Presidential Tournament can be found at

 Cheeca Lodge & Spa also hosts the All-American Backcountry Fishing Tournament set for Nov. 7-9, 2019.

About Cheeca Lodge & Spa

A cornerstone of the Islamorada community since 1946, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is set on a 27-acre private estate in the “Sportfishing Capital of the World.” Cheeca boasts 214 guestrooms, oceanfront suites and bungalows, and its signature feature is the classic 525 ft. wooden fishing pier. Cheeca guests enjoy watersports activities and excursions, tennis and sports courts, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, a Spa with 11 treatment rooms, a family and adults-only lap pool, poolside cabanas, an oceanfront Tiki hut, Camp Cheeca for children, over 4,500 sq. ft. of event space, and three distinctive restaurants. For more information visit

 New Jersey fishing has been in the icebox with wind and cold temperatures, but after even more of that tomorrow there may be a pleasant surprise over the weekend. Gale warnings are up this afternoon for 40-knot winds and seas up to 8 feet along with freezing spray. The forecast decreases to west at 20-25 with gusts to 30 knots in the morning.  Despite bitter cold tomorrow, it gets better by Friday with west 10-15 knot winds plus gusts to 20 — diminishing in the afternoon to 5-10. Saturday looks like an unusually calm  midwinter day with a northwest wind at a mere 5-10 knots — followed by southwest at 10 knots on Sunday.




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