Hook, Line, and Sinker: The Spanish Fly Shark Tournament is Making a Splash in Key West

In a thrilling nod to the legacy of a Florida Keys fishing legend, the inaugural Spanish Fly Shark Tournament is set to cast off April 5-7. This all-release contest, a tribute to the beloved charter captain and TV personality Jose Wejebe, isn't just a fishing tournament—it's a memorial on water. Organized by the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation, it aims to challenge anglers, honor a local hero, and crucially, gather vital data on shark populations in Florida waters.

Here's the bait: Anglers have the choice to test their skills inshore or brave the waves offshore, with the Key West Yacht Club serving as the tournament's HQ. Space is limited—only 50 teams can compete, split evenly between divisions. The prize? Bragging rights and mahogany trophies courtesy of master artist David Wirth, not to mention cash awards for those who opt into additional categories. Yet, there's a catch—only bull sharks count, and hands-off is the name of the game.

The tournament officially kicks off with a registration and captains meeting at 5 p.m., April 5, at the Key West Yacht Club gazebo. Each team captain must present a valid NOAA Fisheries’ Highly Migratory Species permit, shark endorsement included, to participate. Anglers will hit Florida Keys waters, swim areas excluded, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both fishing days, logging their catches via the Fishing Chaos app.

After the lines are drawn, participants will gather for an awards dinner at the yacht club, marking the end of an eventful weekend. Teams looking to secure their spot can do so online for $475 until March 29, or $500 at the door, covering up to four anglers and a captain—who's also allowed to join the fishing fray.

Proceeds from the tournament will support the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation, a testament to Wejebe’s life’s work in conservation, education, and fulfilling fishing dreams. Established after his untimely demise in a 2012 plane crash, the foundation continues his legacy of sharing the joy of fishing.

For those ready to cast their lines for a cause, visit keywestsharktournament.com for more details.