Now part of the acclaimed Redbone at Large series of fishing tournaments, the ninth annual Don Gurgiolo Sailfish Classic is set for Friday through Sunday, Dec. 12-14, in Islamorada. The tournament honors the late Captain Don Gurgiolo, a longtime friend of Redbone founders Gary and Susan Ellis, for his more than 50 years of fishing in the Florida Keys.
The weekend of sailfishing is to start with registration at 5 p.m. Friday at Marker 88 Restaurant, mile marker (MM) 88 bayside. Cocktails follow at 6 p.m., and the captains meeting is set for 6:45 p.m.
Fishing on Saturday is scheduled to run from lines in at 8 a.m. to lines out at 4 p.m. A standings party is set for 5-7 p.m. at Wahoo's Bar and Grill at Whale Harbor, MM 83.5 oceanside.
Sunday's fishing runs 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., followed by 6:30 p.m. beachside cocktails at Marker 88 Restaurant and an awards dinner buffet at 7:30 p.m.
Boat teams compete in the all-release tournament, and the boat accumulating the most release points will be judged the winner. An individual tagging trophy is to be awarded for the most tagged sailfish.
Tournament winners qualify for the 2009 International Game Fish Association Offshore Championship to be held in Islamorada.
Gurgiolo was one of the pioneers of fishing offshore with light tackle and live ballyhoo, the primary technique used today. He was captain of the Gonfishin' charter boats until he retired and sold the Gonfishin' V in 1995. The well-liked skipper died in 1999.
As with all Redbone tournaments, proceeds are to benefit research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, a disease that attacks the lungs and immune system.
Tournament entry fee is $495 for the first angler aboard a vessel and $450 for each additional angler on that vessel. Up to four anglers can fish per boat.
For more information and registration, call (305) 852-9337.
To find out about area accommodations, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at (305) 664-4503 or (800) 322-5397, or visit the Florida Keys Key West Web site at www.fla-keys.com.