Angler Thane Morgan from Amarillo, Texas, guided by Dustin Huff, won the Grand Championship prize in the 51st Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament in Islamorada, Florida. 25 anglers competed in the catch and release tournament for the coveted name place on the perpetual trophy now showcased at Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada, Florida.
Read more in the press release below.
Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament in Islamorada, FL
The 51st Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament in Islamorada, Florida again produced some great competition among 25 talented Anglers this year. The longest, continuously running Tarpon Fly Fishing Tournament is a five day tournament where Anglers and Guides 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. Extremely talented Anglers were able to pull in 32 Release Fish during the 5 day stretch and 22 Weight Fish were caught during the week long competition. Anglers and Guides compete for various trophy items but the real honor is having their names added to the perpetual trophy which is now showcased at Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada, Florida.
Angler Thane Morgan, from Amarillo Texas, won the Grand Championship with a total of 5106 points. Competition was high among fellow Anglers in the first few days but Thane Morgan blew everyone out of the water in the last two days of the Tournament by catching three large Weight Fish that were calculated at 110.3 lbs, 116.6 lbs, and 73.7 lbs. Thane’s Guide, Dustin Huff, had some big shoes to fill during his first year participating in the invitation only tournament. Dustin Huff’s father, Fishing Legend Steve Huff, won the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament Grand Championship on three separate occasions in the 80s. Some of Dustin’s fondest memories as a kid were going to the weigh-in when it was a kill tournament. Something that has stuck in his mind are memories of sitting on the tarpon and looking inside their mouths. Dustin proved himself to his father as well as the fishing community by guiding Thane to an impressive Grand Championship. Thane also helped put another father/son name on the perpetual trophy in 2010 by winning the Grand Championship with Guide, Craig Brewer, whose father Jim won in 1974. It was an extremely special and emotional awards banquet. Thane says, “It’s mainly about friendships and accomplishing something with one of your very best friends. We all spend a ton of time on the boat with these Guides. For many, that forges friendships that will last for life. I feel lucky to be in that group.” In addition to this year’s Grand Championship, Thane Morgan and Dustin Huff won several award categories including the “Most Releases” award with 7 Release Fish total as well as “High Point Day Award” and “High Point Day 4 & High Point Day 5.”
First Runner Up Angler Mark Richens, a local from Islamorada, Florida along with his Guide Jared Raskob, gained a total of 4261 points with four Weight Fish and three Release Fish.
Second Runner Up Angler, Greg Smith from Luguna, Texas, and his Guide Scott Collins earned a total of 2942 points by catching three Weight Fish and two Release Fish.
Angler Ned Johnson from Charleston, South Carolina and Guide Andy Thompson caught the Largest Tarpon measuring 129.2 lbs.