In the past seven years, young anglers, averaging 11-
years-old, have caught and released 112 tarpon in the
80-pound to 130-pound range with an average release
time of nine minutes.
Kudos to the fishing captains for helping release the
tarpon so quickly. This teaches kids at a very young age
how important sustainability is when it comes to tarpon
fishing. The quicker the tarpon are caught and released,
the healthier they’ll remain.
Before the fishing starts on Saturday, June 2, all are
welcome to come to the family-friendly Camp
Margaritaville party from noon to 3 p.m. at the Boca
Grande Community Center. There will be food, games,
bounce houses, a dunk tank and a water slide. Even the
youngest children can participate and create art with
Carroll Swayze and friends.
The fishing competition will be from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30
p.m. Prior to fishing, Jim Cooper of Lemon Bay
Conservancy will deliver a message on conservation.
Then there will be a blessing of the fleet. Lemon Bay High
School ROTC will present colors, followed by the singing
of the National Anthem. Charlotte County Warbirds will
be doing a flyover saluting Troops and Veterans and then
the tournament will begin.
“My favorite part is the awards ceremony where you
can see everyone who caught tarpon get prizes and be
happy,” said Charlotte Chatham, who participated in the
tournament last year.
Meanwhile her little brother, David, is a man of few
“My favorite part? Catchin’ tarpon.”
The 2018 Gold Sponsors include Italiano Insurance,
The Gasparilla Inn and Club, Grand Aire Services/Trane,
Gulf Coast International Properties, Stump Pass Marina,
CCM Graphics, Publix, Gasparilla Outfitters/Special
Effects and the Boca Beacon.
Since the first tournament, the event has had very
strong community support and 100 percent of the
1st Place Team
Captain – $1,200
2nd Place Team
Captain – $800
3rd Place Team
(last fished released)
Captain – $500
1st Fish Captain Release
$500 cash and
$500 service credit with
1st Fish Boy Release
Rod and Reel Package
(Courtesy of Fisherman’s Edge)
1st Fish Girl Release
Spa Day for 4
(Courtesy of Courtyard Hair)
Captains Grand Prize
(Courtesy of Stump Pass Marina)
money raised from the team entrees goes
straight to charities.
More than $184,000 has been given to
various charities over the past seven years.
This year, more than $12,000 in prizes will
be awarded to the winning teams and their
One lucky captain who helps a kid catch
a tarpon will win the captain’s grand prize
of $3,000 cash, courtesy of Stump Pass
Marina. Every captain who catches and
releases a tarpon will be entered into the
drawing. For every tarpon caught, the
captain will receive one entry. The more
catches they get, the better odds they’ll have
The event will be covered by the
Margaritaville music station on Serious XM
Radio and can be followed worldwide.
For more information, visit