Sailfishing is one of the most exciting fish to catch.
Many anglers think this is only for the rich and famous.
This is far from the truth. YOU can go sailfishing also.
You just have to make the time. It's sailfish time now in
Florida. I love Florida. Florida is a great place to go
when weather here gets cold and the snow starts. You can
catch sailfish off Stuart , Palm Beach and south to the
Florida Keys from November through February. My favorite
is the Florida Keys. Islamorada has some of the best fishing
in the world especially for sailfish. Islamorada is known
as the Sportfishing Capital of the World.
As some of you already know, we have filmed the Cheeca
Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament in Islamorada for
the past four years for our television show, Adventures
in Fishing with Capt. Ray Kelly. The tournament is held
during the third week in January which is in the prime of
Sailfish season in the Keys. During last years filming,
we filmed on board, GONFISHIN V with Capt. Glen Miller and
on CATCH 22 with Capt. Scott Stanczyk. The Cheeca Team was
fishing on the CATCH 22. The anglers on board these two
boats caught so many sailfish that we had to broadcast the
tournament during two shows. The sailfish action was fabulous.
Julie Perrin-Olsen, Tournament Director and Director of
Public Relations for Cheeca Lodge, refers to the tournament
as "the most prestigious tournament in the Florida Keys."
I must say the tournament is well organized and the anglers
are very competitive. The captains that fish The Presidential
are the best of the best. Cheeca Lodge is the most exclusive
resort in Islamorada with oceanfront rooms and suites, two
pools, two restaurants, a fishing pier and boat dock. Cheeca
even has a golf course. Cheeca Lodge is the place to stay
when fishing or vacationing in the Florida Keys.
This filming was special as my son, Christopher, was filming
the tournament with me. Chris took the time from his busy
schedule to be the primary cameraman for this shoot. Chris
and I work well together which makes things a lot easier.
On Sailfish shoots, one cameraman tries to concentrate on
filming the sailfish jumping and dancing on the water while
the other cameraman will capture the action in the cockpit.
The acrobatics that sailfish put on really get an anglers
blood flowing. To capture these jumps and dances on film
is no easy task. Chris is one of the best. Viewers have
no idea how much work goes into producing ADVENTURES IN
On the first day, Chris and I were on board, GONFISHIN
V. Capt. Glen Miller is one of the best captains in Islamorada
and one of the best captains that I have ever worked with.
It did not take long after the bait was caught by mate Rick
Gulia. Ballyhoo are the best bait to use and are caught
with a cast net at the crack of dawn. The lines went into
the water at 8:30 AM and the action started. Jorge Alvarez
was fishing with his uncle, Tevy Wellins. Jorge had never
caught a sailfish before. It did not take long before Jorge
was hooked up. The sailfish jumped and skyrocketed in the
air. The sailfish danced on the surface at the boats stern
and then was tagged and released. This is a catch and release
tournament. There is also an award for most tagged fish.
Jorge was happy and proud. Another fish came not long after
and again Jorge was quick to jump on the rod. Tevy was glad
to see his nephew having fun. Tevy has caught many sailfish
in the past and he let Jorge land most of the fish on this
trip. This fish was landed. Another fish hit one of the
baits but this was not a sailfish. It was a 25 pound Wahoo.
Jorge landed this one also. His first wahoo. This wahoo
captured the Most Outstanding Catch award. Jorge was having
a great day. Tevy landed the next fish which was a barracuda.
The action was unbelievable. GONFISHIN V was definitely
doing well. In the afternoon, Jorge and Tevy battled sailfish
and landed both of them. What a day! Five sailfish landed.
The GONFISHIN V team was tied for 2nd place but because
they caught their last fish later than the others, they
were in fourth place. Jorge will remember this day for the
rest of his life.
We filmed on board, CATCH 22, the second day. The Cheeca
Fishing Team composed of Dave Chaplin, Alan Ritter, Russell
Leger and Capt. Dan McArthy were fishing with Capt. Scott
Stanczyk and his mate Mark Ellis. CATCH 22 also had a great
first day. The lines were in at 8:30 AM and a double was
immediately hooked up. Two sailfish on at once is a sight
to see never mind film. Russell Leger hooked up first with
Dave Chaplin hooking up second. It takes a team effort all
around. Capt. Stanczyk coordinated the battle. Russell let
his sail take drag and swim away from the boat while Dave
battled his fish close. Chris and I captured the action
on film. It would be great if they both landed their fish.
These battles last over an hour but they both landed their
sailfish. CATCH 22 was now tie for first place. The angler
on the DEE CEE hooked up with a triple and believe it or
not she landed all three fish by herself. The DEE CEE was
now tie for 2nd place with 8 sailfish. Dave Chaplin landed
another sailfish giving the Cheeca Team 8 sailfish putting
them in 2nd place. Two tuna were also caught. It was another
fantastic day. I knew we had another great show filmed for
ADVENTURES IN FISHING. The final results were Relentless-lst
place with 9 sailfish, Catch 22- 2nd Place with 8 sailfish
and Dee Cee- 3rd Place with 8 sailfish. The Cheeca Lodge
Presidential Sailfish Tournament is a first class tournament.
I highly recommend it. Next years tournament is scheduled
for January 14-16, 1999. Give Julie Perrin-Olsen a call
at 1-800-327-2888 or 305-664-4651 for more information.
We will be there again filming another show for ADVENTURES
IN FISHING. I hope to see you there also.
Even if you can not make the Presidential, YOU can still
experience some of the fine sailfishing on one of the many
charters boats in the area. Capt. Glen Miller of GONFISHIN
V can be reached at 305-852-3427. Capt. Scott Stanczyk of
CATCH 22 can be reached at 800-742-7945 or 305-664-2461.
You can even try your luck by yourself by renting a boat
at SPLASH WATERSPORTS in Islamorada. The number is 305-664-8892.
THE POWER BOAT CLUB in Jensen Beach also rents fishing boats.
Their number is 888-219-0703. But the only way for you to
catch a sailfish is to get out there and give it a try.
As they say, TRY IT, YOU'LL LIKE IT. Actually YOU'LL LOVE