2016 Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament Champions
Guide: Joe Rodriguez
The 53rd Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament in Islamorada, Florida again produced some great competition among 25 talented Anglers and Captains. The longest, continuously running Tarpon Fly Fishing Tournament is a five-day tournament where Angler and Captain Teams are awarded Weight Points for fish measuring over 70 pounds that are brought under control. Release Points are awarded for tarpon that are brought under control that are a minimum of four feet long, regardless of weight. Tarpon are catch and release only and weight is determined by a formula based on length and girth. Talented Teams were able to pull in 56 Release Fish and 25 Weight Fish during the 5-day stretch. Thursday marked one of the best fishing days in Gold Cup TT history with 14 Weight Fish and 14 Release Fish brought in on one day!
Teams compete for various trophy items but the real honor is having their name added to the 53-Year-Old perpetual trophy which is showcased at The Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada. Angler Julian Robertson, from New York City, and his Captain Joe Rodriguez scored a total of 6524 points, winning the 53rd Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. They met the five strap limit on day 5 to solidify their 2016 Grand Championship. The Robertson Rodriguez team scored fish measuring approximate weights of 101.2, 79.8, 74.3, 85.6, and 101.5 pounds. Due to their many, large Weight Fish on the last three days of the Tournament, they also won Awards for High Point Day Three, High Point Day Four, and High Point Day Five. They won the overall High Point Day Award, bringing in a total of 3185 points with three Weight Fish on the memorable Thursday. Team Robertson and Rodriguez also added seven Release Fish for the week, winning the Award for Most Releases simply by time. They beat out Team Morgan and Huff by catching their last fish first. Robertson and Rodriguez proved to be a talented pair and kept competition exciting this week. They sealed their legacy in Tarpon fishing immortality by finishing strong and having their names added to the Historic Gold Cup TT Trophy!
Angler Thane Morgan, from Amarillo, TX and his Capt. Dustin Huff of Marathon, FL took 2nd Place with a total of 4974 points. Their seven Release Fish, along with Weight Fish measuring approximately 103.2, 111.0, and 73.2 pounds built on their continued success in the Gold Cup TT. Team Morgan and Huff won the Grand Championship in 2014 and Angler Thane Morgan won the Grand Championship previously in 2010.
Finishing 3rd Place in 2016 is the Team of Baker Bishop of Charleston, SC and Capt. Craig Brewer of Islamorada. Bishop & Brewer scored a total 2669 points. Bishop is a two-time Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament Champion and Capt. Brewer was the Guide to the Grand Champion in the 2010 Gold Cup TT.
Angler Mark Richens and his Capt. Jared Raskob, both local to Islamorada, followed up their 2015 Gold Cup TT Grand Championship by taking the Largest Tarpon Award in the 2016 event. The fish measured approximate weight of 126.6 pounds.
The 54th Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament will take place June 19-23, 2017.