GOLD CUP TARPON TOURNAMENT IN THE FLORIDA KEYS

  • By: Fly Rod and Reel



ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys—Tarpon fishing stays hot into the summer, notably at the Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament. The angling challenge is set to kick off Sunday, June 15, with a welcome party and anglers meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Uncle's Restaurant, mile marker (MM) 80.9 oceanside in Islamorada.

The prestigious tournament pits 25 anglers against the tenacious tarpon of the Keys for four straight days of fishing. Experienced tournament anglers and novices are welcome to compete.

The Gold Cup is a fly-only, all-release tournament that limits fly tippets to 16-pound test, making the battle between angler and tarpon a test of strength and finesse, endurance and technique.

Each fishing morning, anglers are to be served a choice of hot or cold breakfast 5 to 6 a.m. at the Lorelei, MM 82 bayside in Islamorada.

Fishing begins each day with staggered starts at 5:45 a.m. and lines-out at 3 p.m. Dockside cocktails and hors d'oeuvres are to be served at 3:30 p.m. at the Lorelei.

Scoring is based on points awarded for either release or weight fish. Release fish must measure at least 48 inches long. Weight fish must exceed 70 pounds.

Awards are to be presented at 5 p.m. Friday, June 19, at a dockside party at the Lorelei.

The grand champion's name will be engraved on the perpetual trophy currently on display at Worldwide Sportsman, MM 81.5 bayside in Islamorada.

Entry fee is $1,250 per angler, which includes all social functions for the angler and guide. Guide fees are the angler's responsibility.

The Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament began in 1964 as a spin, plug and fly tournament and changed to the current all-fly format in 1972. One of the founders was baseball great and avid fly-fisherman Ted Williams.

Proceeds from the event are earmarked to support the Florida Keys Voices for Children.

For more information, call (305) 664-2444 or e-mail [email protected].

To find out about area accommodations, call the Islamorada Chamber of Commerce at (305) 664-4503 or (800) 322-5397, or visit the Florida Keys  Key West Web site at www.fla-keys.com.