The 19th Outback Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament kicked off Sunday, May 19th at the Islamorada Fishing Club. Outgoing Tournament Chairman, Pat Ford of Miami, and incoming Tournament Chairman Dr. Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas, welcomed a 20 boat field by first presenting a $3,000.00 donation to IFACT Chairman, Kara Lundgren. The Islamorada Fishing and Conservation Trust supports local fishing and marine conservation projects as well as providing scholarships to those going into the marine resources education programs.
The weather actually was very good through out all three days of fishing. The Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament is a large fish tournament, meaning that the bigger fish of 70 pounds and over will score more points. The smaller release fish of four feet and over all score 200 points but do not count unless a weight fish is scored.
Angler Julian Robertson from Kerikeri, New Zealand and local Captain Joe Rodriguez ran away with day one. They scored two weight fish and two releases for 2,300 points. High points on day two also went to Robertson and Rodriguez with another weight fish as well as two more releases for a total of 3,740 points. Day three high points went to newcomer Ryan Seiders from Texas and Captain Rob Fordyce with a weight fish and a release for 1,240 points.
Julian Robertson and Captain Joe Rodriguez took over the entire tournament winning the Grand Champion title with a final scoring of three weight fish and seven releases for 4,340 points. The team walked away with David Wirth sculptures, a custom fly reel by Tom Kapusta and a custom fly rod from Randy Towe Signature Series Fly Rods. The team also claimed the Billy Pate Memorial Largest Tarpon Award with a 108 pound tarpon. Captain Rodriguez guided Robertson to High Point Trophies on day one and day two as well as the Most Releases trophy with seven fish released.
First Runner Up Trophy went to Ryan Seiders and Captain Rob Fordyce with two weight fish and three releases for a total of 2,660 points. Seiders and Fordyce grabbed the High Point Trophy for day three as well as the Newcomer Award. Second Runner Up went to angler Rand Holstead of Houston, Texas and Captain Brian Helms with one weight fish and four releases for a total of 1,800 points. Third Runner Up was Ned Johnson from Charleston, S.C. and Captain Andy Thompson with one weight fish and two releases for 1,145 points.
The 20th Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament will be held May 18-21, 2014. For information please email Betsy Bullard at firstname.lastname@example.org.