South Florida Sailfish Tournament Season: What to Know About Upcoming Events
For serious anglers, sailfish season brings unique opportunities to win big. As tournament veterans know, sailfish tend to attract others, setting you up for the thrill of simultaneous fights. If you’re looking to try your hand at an event, there’s no shortage of options this season. Mark your calendars with these upcoming 2023/2024 South Florida sailfish tournaments. (And if you’re looking to upgrade your ride for tournament season, check out our extensive inventory of sportfishing yachts for sale.)
Dust ’Em Off Sailfish Warmup | November 29 – December 3 Kick off sailfish season with this Palm Beach kite fishing tournament. With several prize categories, it offers the perfect incentive to warm up for the months of tournament fishing ahead.
Islamorada Sailfish Tournament | December 1 – 3 This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, the first leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship. Event proceeds go to the Islamorada Charter Boat Committee to preserve fishing throughout the Florida Keys.
Pirate’s Cove Sailfish Classic | December 6 – 9 A dredge-focused tournament in Stuart, this event’s location is home to some of the best sailfishing in Florida. Enjoy cold drinks and live entertainment at Pirate’s Cove tiki bar after a day of fishing.
Florida Sailfish Cup | January 1 – June 30 For the first six months of 2024, anglers from Fernandina Beach to Key West can compete in Florida’s Sailfish Cup. Registration offers one- and three-day options.
Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Tournament | January 4 – 6 The 70th annual Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Tournament is a charity event that benefits seniors of Martin County High School pursuing higher education in marine studies. This event is dead bait only with no amateur division.
Fish for Holly | January 5 – 6 Taking place at the Islander Resort in Islamorada, this tournament is held in honor of Holly Given. Since its inception, the event has raised $215,000 for scholarships, domestic violence awareness, and local charities.
Pelican Yacht Club Invitational | January 8 – 13 This Fort Pierce tournament produces loads of action and is a favorite of HMY broker Mark Mitchell, where he recalls landing 30 to 40 sailfish in one day at times. With the right timing, location, and gear, the odds can certainly be in your favor, too.
87th Annual Silver Sailfish Derby | January 10 – 13 HMY broker Luke Davis explains why the Silver Sailfish Derby is his favorite (besides the fact that, two years ago, he and fellow HMY brokers Andrew Dean and Mike O’Connor took a first place daily and won second place overall): with a four-line maximum, 50-boat limit, and no professional anglers, everyone has a fighting chance. The event is hosted by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club, which has a far-reaching history in the tournament community.
Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series This three-leg tournament offers multiple opportunities to hook into a prizewinner throughout South Florida’s best sailfish waters:
- Leg One: Operation Sailfish | January 17 – 21 – Palm Beach
- Leg Two: Sailfish Challenge | February 21 – 25 – Fort Lauderdale
- Leg Three: Final Sail | April 10 – 13 – Miami
Checca Lodge Presidential | January 19 – 21 Hosted by Checca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada, this tournament has award categories for first, second, and third place, as well as grand champion, top lady angler, and champion junior angler.
Buccaneer Cup | January 23 – 27 Teams fish two out of three days during this West Palm Beach tournament. Anglers can choose between live and dead bait, but only one type is permitted in the water at a time.
IGFA Light Tackle Open | January 31 – February 2 This two-day tournament is held at the peak of sailfish season in Palm Beach Shores. With a strict 12-pound test rule, it’s an excellent chance for light tackle anglers to compete.
Gold Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament | February 6 – 10 The Gold Cup in West Palm Beach represents the pinnacle of sport fishing. There’s no prize money involved, but the honor of being named winner is a prize enough in itself.
Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring | March 5 – 9 Hosted at the new Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, this week-long fishing event isn’t exclusive to sailfish. Other eligible species include blue and white marlin, dolphin, and tuna, among others. Last year we saw quite a few familiar faces on the stage at the awards and we are looking forward to seeing you all again this year!
Viking Key West Challenge | April 3 – 6 Finishing out sailfish season is the Viking Key West Challenge, which will include food and “docktails” from Dante’s Tiki Bar. Don’t miss the Viking Yachts demo and the kids’ dock tournament for some extra family fun.
As tournament season approaches, keep an eye on our events page for more updates. And if you’re in the market for a battlewagon to gear up for an event, check out our inventory of yachts for sale here.