Two Tarpon Tournaments, One Big Controversy

May 21, 2012

By all accounts, the return this past weekend of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament was a huge success, and the tournament is being lauded for emphasizing education and conservation as much as fishing. Thanks to all who supported the WRTT and many thanks to all the fans who visited the Guy Harvey Mobile Express over the weekend.

At the same time, another tarpon tournament that was held in the same location over the weekend is drawing the ire of many conservation-oriented fishermen, including well-known author and nearby resident Randy Wayne White. The Professional Tarpon Tournament Series allows the practice of “snag fishing” or “jig fishing”, a practice that many anglers and conservationists consider unsportsmanlike and unethical (by comparsion, the WRTT required participants to fish with live bait, and the tournament’s format was “catch and release” only).

White says the PTTS “encourages” snag fishing and as a show of his disapproval his restaurant, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, will no longer sponsor the tournament. PTTS Vice President Joe Mercurio, however, defended the tournament, saying anglers in the PTTS use circle hooks to catch tarpon, a method that does not allow for snag fishing. He also noted that the PTTS works closely with Florida Fish and Wildlife and Mote Marine as part of the tournaments efforts toward conservation.

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: Is snag fishing acceptable, or does this practice violate the spirit and ethics of tournament fishing?

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Register Now for the Next Guy Harvey Gear Giveaway from the Florida Lottery!

May 17, 2012

It’s time to enter for the next Guy Harvey Gear Giveaway from the Florida Lottery. To enter to win, just “Like” the Florida Lottery Facebook Page, then click on the Giveaway tab and choose your favorite Guy Harvey scratch-off ticket design. After that, leave your contact info so they can find you if you win. Deadline for the next drawing is Sunday, June 3rd at midnight. Prize packs include a Guy Harvey t-shirt, beach towel, hat & Tervis tumbler. Good luck!


30th Anniversary Edition of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament Underway in Boca Grande

May 16, 2012

The 30th anniversary of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament takes place this week in Boca Grande, FL. The celebration kicks off Wednesday evening with a Captain’s Party at Boca Bay Pass Club and concludes with Friday evening’s awards ceremony in downtown Boca Grande.

On Saturday and Sunday, the festivities continue with the Downtown Tarpon Festival, which features a Saturday night performance by Nashville recording artist Colton James. Click here for a full schedule of events.

History of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament

In 1983 the “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament was originally called the Boca Grande Club Invitational, sponsored and run by the private Boca Grande Club located on the north end of Gasparilla Island, and traditionally run during the summer.

In 1991, the Boca Grande Club decided to discontinue their sponsorship of the tournament and the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce took it over renaming it the “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament and opening entries to the general public.

At its height, the total purse of the “World’s Richest” exceeded $175,000 and anglers from all over the world traveled to Boca Grande to enter for a chance to win it.

The impressive “World’s Richest” perpetual trophy is on display at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce office and features the names of the winning team leaders for each year the tournament has been in existence.

In 2005, the Chamber of Commerce decided to take a hiatus from sponsoring the tournament to focus more on economic development for its growing membership base.

The Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association took over the tournament and renamed it the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association Tarpon Tournament which ran until 2011.

Now in 2012, on the 30th Anniversary of it’s inception, the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce will once again sponsor and direct the storied “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament in its triumphant return.

This time however, education and conservation of the fishery combined with sport fishing will be the primary focus. Safe boating, sportsmanship and responsible angling will be promoted in order to encourage a safe, successful family friendly event that will ensure the protection and proper stewardship of our natural resources so that they may be enjoyed for generations to come.

The urgency towards conservation has become increasingly apparent over the last few years and the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce is committed to taking the lead in creating opportunities to help rehabilitate a habitat that has flourished in South West Florida for thousands of years.

Our all-release, no-weigh, no-kill tournaments are an alternative whose time has come. Bringing families together in sport and education enriches not only our estuaries and fisheries, but our community as a whole.

Our “World’s Richest” Tarpon Tournament scheduled for May 17th & 18th 2012 is combined with the 2nd Annual Gasparilla Island Kid’s Classic will be held on May 19th hosted by Gasparilla Outfitters and the 22nd Annual Ladies Day Tournament held on May 20th. The weekend long events will be combined with a downtown festival that will include music, food and games for the kids.

WRTT history prepared by Lew Hastings, Exec. Director of the Boca Grande Chamber of Commerce


Guy Harvey Gear Giveaway from Florida Lottery on Monday, May 14th

May 10, 2012

Win Guy Harvey Gear from the Florida Lottery! To enter to win,  just “Like” the Florida Lottery Facebook Page, then click on the “Giveaway” tab and choose your favorite Guy Harvey scratch-off ticket design. After that, leave your contact info so they can find you if you win. It’s that easy! Just do it now – deadline for the next drawing is Sunday, May 13th at midnight! Good luck!


Fishing Florida Radio Interviews Guy Harvey Inc.’s Steve Stock About Upcoming Events

April 22, 2012

Steve Stock, President of Guy Harvey Inc. and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, was recently interviewed on Fishing Florida Radio by hosts BooDreaux, Steve Chapman and Captain Mike. The guys talked about the many upcoming events and projects that  GHI and the GHOF are involved in, which includes a very busy May schedule with events that include the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge (May 4-6),  the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament (May 17-20) and the 2nd Annual GHOF Golf Classic at Grande Oaks Golf Club (May 18). The group also discussed the popularity of Guy’s new Armed Forces Collection and how that line of merchandise helps support our brave veterans. To hear the entire interview, click on the FFR logo below:


Guy Harvey-Sponsored All-Release Tournaments Partnering to Cross-Promote, Spread Message

March 25, 2012

Creators of the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival and Organizers of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament have announced plans to strengthen and share their commitment to conservation by cross-promoting their common missions and messages to the general public, press and media. The Ultimate Shark Challenge Tournament and Festival takes place in Punta Gorda’s downtown waterfront at Laishley Crab House at Laishley Park May 4 th – 6 th followed by the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament in Boca Grande May 17th and 18th and the Downtown Tarpon Festival May 19th and 20th.

Both all-release tournaments feature exciting and innovative high-stakes competitions that also place an emphasis on best practices when it comes to the post-release welfare of their respective target species; sharks and tarpon. The common ground between the two events is clear when looking at the USC’s established mission to, “Combine the Goals of Sport, Science and Conservation” alongside the WRTT’s new message of, “Conservation, Education and Sportsmanship”. Strategic alliances include Mote Marine Laboratory and Mote Center for Shark Research, Guy Harvey Enterprises and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. The event’s respective festivals are free to the public and offer a host of family-friendly fun, excitement, entertainment and education.

Without a doubt, the main attraction at both events are the fishing tournaments, which also share boundaries within the same storied fishing grounds of Boca Grande Pass, Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. While their marquis species are indeed very different, event organizers are quick to point out that, “Sharks and tarpon have been coexisting here for millions of years and that their symbiotic relationship is a matter of essential mutual benefit to a healthy marine and coastal environment. In many ways, that relationship is a great metaphor for why we’re collaborating with our events.”

USC Creators, Sean & Brooks Paxton add that, “We’re extremely fortunate to have this uniquely diverse environmental playground right here in our backyard. The area offers so many choices for not only boaters and recreational anglers, but anyone interested in an endless list of eco and adventure-based activities on land and sea. There really is something for everyone. We’re proud of that and feel a responsibility to protect and conserve these natural assets while promoting the region, the people and the businesses that rely upon and support them. We do that by leveraging purposeful entertainment that also educates and inspires people.”

Lew Hastings, Executive Director at the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce and Tournament Director of the WRTT explains, “My goal is to strengthen and promote the financial growth and well being of the local businesses in order to sustain a healthy community. We see the constant threat of damage and destruction to the natural beauty and wildlife habitats that surround us and recognize that they can not and should not be looked upon as a cost of doing business. Exploitation of natural resources in the name of progress and financial gain leaves us all a great deal poorer in the end. The significant economic and environmental impact recreational fishing has on our communities, make conservation for a sustainable fishery not only preferable but necessary. Education and conservation of the fishery combined with sport fishing will be the primary focus. Safe boating, sportsmanship and responsible angling will be promoted in order to encourage a safe, successful family friendly atmosphere that will inspire everyone to engage in the protection and proper stewardship of our natural resources so that they may be enjoyed for generations to come.”