A total of seventeen boats and sixty anglers registered for the second annual Trinidad Tarpon Bash with participants from Sweden, Canada, the U.S., and Trinidad & Tobago.
In an effort to target the tarpon main feeding times the tournament format includes three 5:45 a.m. to 9:a.m sessions and two 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. fishing sessions. Each team has just less than seventeen hours of soak time for the baits. Anglers receive bonus points for lure or fly caught fish. All bait fishing must be done with a non-offset circle hooks.
In this year’s Tarpon Bash, the committee boat recorded 212 hookups from the seventeen teams of which 108 were photographed and released. Two of the teams weighed fish including Wayne Hadeed’s 134-pound tarpon caught on Buccaneer and Kevin Charles 177-pound tarpon caught on Grand Slam II. Both fish were weighed alive in a special sling, revived and released in good shape.
The tournament started off quickly as teams called in hookups immediately after the 5:45 a.m. lines-in start. At 3:55 p.m. during the afternoon session Grand Slam II, a team from Tobago, called in a hook-up for angler Kevin Charles. An hour later after getting a good look at the fish the team called the tournament control boat to inform them they intended to weigh the fish. Once the fish is brought along side the tournament team guides the fish into a special sling attached to an 80’ power cat, Ohh La La. The fish is then hoisted out of the water for a few seconds, weighed and then revived for the release. The fish ultimately weighed 177 pounds, winning Grand Slam II largest Tarpon honors. Team Grand Slam received trophies, gifts, and a check for $2,400.
During the second day of fishing, Captain Marc Telfer’s team Buccaneer hooked into a nice one. Angler Wayne Hadeed battled for almost two hours and still had the energy to swim the fish over to the weigh boat once she was securely attached to the float. The fish weighed in at 134 pounds winning Buccaneer second largest tarpon honors and all of the Daily Largest Tarpon Jackpots.
The top captain and release point honors went to team Radical. Captain Tony Leeloy of Trinidad and owner Bernard Johnson competed along with Greg Asiodu from Trinidad and Tom Hansen and Mike Malek from New Jersey. The team released 18 tarpon, three of which were caught on lures, to score the most release points in the tournament. In addition to Leeloy’s top captain award, the team also won the day one and two Release Jackpots and third place angler for Asiodu.
The team scoring the second most release points was King Sailor led by captain Jonathan De La Rosa. Lady angler Marylin Sheppard led the team with six releases of their total of thirteen to earn her Top Lady Angler award and second place angler of the tournament.
Team Pick II angler J.P. Agostini was unequaled in the angler category winning First Place Angler with eight releases.
Team Mamzell fishing in one of the smaller boats had a great tournament especially for junior angler Paul Hamel-Smith. With the help of his older brother David putting him on the fish, Paul released five tarpon winning him top junior angler. Team Mamzell also won the third day release jackpot.
Captain and angler Kester Herbert on Grand Slam won the Top Fly angler award, releasing one tarpon on fly. Kester went one for three on fly to win the division.
In addition to the fish caught in the tournament Sport Fishing Magazine TV show host and guest angler Captain Bruce Ungar caught and released eleven tarpon during the filming of the 2007 Trinidad Tarpon show.
The event ended in a bash with entertainment provided by Carib Beer and the always-popular awards video put together by Sport Fishing Magazine. Participants partied the night away to great music, food and spirits. For more information: www.TrinidadTarponBash.com
Report and photographs courtesy of the Trinidad Tarpon Bash