The 50th anniversary of the longest continuously-running tarpon fly fishing tournament yielded extreme competition in Islamorada, FL form June 17 to 21. For five straight days, 25 seasoned anglers fought to earn the most accumulated points.
Angler Rand Holstead, from Houston, and Captain Brian Helms, of Islamorada, pulled through with 3 weight fish and 9 release fish scoring 4,504 points to become the 2013 Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament Grand Champions. This marks the second recent win for the combo of Holstead and Helms who recently took the top spot at the Don Hawley Tournament.
Tarpon are caught, measured, and released throughout the five-‐day Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. A weight of the tarpon is calculated through a formula based on length and girth. A 70-pound minimum weight is required to qualify as a "weight fish." Release fish count if they are four feet or longer.
First Runner-Up: Angler Charles Duncan, III from Houston, TX and Capt. Rob Fordyce caught 3 weight fish and 6 release fish totaling 4266 points. One of those weight fish was the largest tarpon caught for the week, weighing in at 121.4 pounds.
Second Runner‐Up: Angler Julian Robertson from New York, NY and Capt. Joe Rodriguez scored a total of 4,259 points from 3 weight fish and 6 release fish.
Angler Michael Criscola from Fair Haven, NJ fishing with Captain Paul Tejera caught 12 releases to win the Most Releases Category.
Trophies included sculptures by Roger Fowler and original artwork by Jorge Martinez. The biggest privilege of being Grand Champion is having your name added to the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament’s perpetual trophy which is showcased at World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, FL. Rand Holstead and Captain Brian Helms will have theirs added for the first time.
The 50th anniversary was an extra special week for the Grand Champions since the awards banquet was also a tribute to the history of the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. The exclusive banquet took place at Morada Bay Beach Café where a video presentation by Waterline Media portrayed the evolution and significance of the tournament over the past 50 years. Past anglers such as Boyd Walker were interviewed and showcased in the video while guest speakers Past Champions Glen Flutie and Capt Steve Huff spoke to the audience about keeping the importance of keeping the tournament alive. The 51st annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament will take place on June 16-‐20, 2014. For more information visit www.goldcuptt.com.