Get Outdoors: World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament returns to Boca Grande

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Reeling them in! &#169 Panama City Beach CVB

Reeling them in! © Panama City Beach CVB

 

Florida Vacation Guide to the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament

After seven years, the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament returns to Boca Grande! This weekend, from 3:00 – 7:00 pm on May 17 to 18th, anglers will flock to Gasparilla Island in the Charlotte Harbor for the two-day tournament. A new component of the event will be the protection of tarpons and their population.

The history

The tournament started back in 1983 and became a public event in 1991; growing in popularity when winning purses increased to $150,000. For the 30th anniversary, the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association wanted to bring the tournament back.

Tarpon Fishery conservation

This is an all-release and no-kill tournament, all to raise awareness of the fishery and protect the fish. Fishery experts say that a quick release right from the boat will take the survival rate up to 95%. The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have been involved with the planning to ensure that the tarpon population wouldn’t be impacted by the tournament. The following changes have been made to ensure the fish won’t be stressed:

-eliminating weighing the fish

-live-bait-only

-no jigging

-no photographs of fish on the beach or lifted out of the water

Boca Grande Fishing

A tiny community, Boca Grande is known for the best tarpon fishing in the world.  Although tarpon spawn along most of the passes in the Gulf of Mexico, the largest concentration of fish is in the Boca Grande pass, which is fed by both the Peace and Myakka River. There are many theories as to why tarpon are attracted to this region – one is the depth of the pass.

Tell us…

Have you ever fished tarpon?