KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Elite anglers from around the U.S. and other countries are to battle sailfish in Florida Keys waters during the 10th annual World Sailfish Championship, presented by Bass Pro Shops and scheduled Tuesday through Saturday, April 17-21.
The release tournament is characterized by three days of hard-fought fishing, social and charity events and participation from celebrities including honorary chairman and baseball great Johnny Bench, five-time American League batting champion Wade Boggs, wrestler “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and legendary anglers Stu Apte and Norm Isaacs.
According to tournament chairman and founder Chris King, the overall 2012 purse should exceed $1 million, as it has in past years.
The sailfish spectacular is scheduled to begin Tuesday, April 17, with final registration from 1-5 p.m. at tournament headquarters in Mallory Square overlooking Key West Harbor. A mandatory captains meeting is set for 5:30 p.m., followed by opening ceremonies, a color guard presentation, military flyover and kick-off party with entertainment by Howard Livingston.
Competition is to commence with lines in the water at 8 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, April 18 and 19. Lines-out is to be called at 3:30 p.m. both days.
After a nonfishing “lay day” on Friday, the battle for angling supremacy culminates Saturday with fishing from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Social events include a charity party at Mallory Square featuring silent and live auctions. The tournament awards banquet, presented by Westin’s Sunset Key Guest Cottages, is set for 6 p.m. Saturday at Mallory Square.
In addition, a children’s fishing derby is planned for the “lay day.”
The entry fee of $7,700 plus tax per boat enables five anglers and a designated captain to fish, and includes six VIP social passes and six gift bags.
Auction proceeds are to benefit Kettle Comfort Cooking for America, the World Sailfish Championship Charitable Foundation and the Rotary Club of Key West.
Event information and registration: www.worldsailfish.com