KEY WEST, Fla. — Forty-six qualifying species to target, divisions for anglers ranging from young children to seniors, challenging competition and opportunities for both offshore and inshore fishing await participants in the landmark Key West Fishing Tournament.
The eight-month tournament is to begin Dec. 1, 2022, and continue through July 31, 2023. With a history that spans more than five decades, the multidivisional free-entry event provides a test of skill for seasoned anglers while also developing newcomers’ interest in the sport.
Celebrating the diverse variety of fish found in Florida Keys waters, the tournament provides recognition and trophies to anglers posting the heaviest catch of each of 33 species. Six different line classes and three artificial casting categories further heighten the competition.
Other awards recognize the most releases of barracuda, blue marlin, bonefish, dolphin, permit, sailfish and tarpon. The Key West Fishing Tournament strongly encourages the release of game fish and will not recognize any killed sailfish, marlin, spearfish, tarpon, redfish, warsaw grouper or shark for award purposes.
Visiting and resident fishing aficionados can enter their catches at a tournament weigh station in the Lower Keys or Key West. They also can enter by submitting photos of their fish at enter.keywestfishingtournament.com.
Weighed catches are accepted if weighed on a hand scale that has been inspected and approved by the tournament, enabling anglers to subsequently release fish to be caught again.
The challenge features divisions for men, women, junior anglers ages 10 to 15 and Pee Wees under 10 years old. Family members sometimes compete together, bonding over the shared pursuit. Entrants can fish from a boat, bridge or land.
All participants receive certificates noting their catches and qualify for a variety of awards including coveted “Master Angler” titles.