Browser warning

Tampa Tarpon Tournament to Benefit UT Marine Science

Published: April 25, 2000
On May 19, UT will re-introduce the old Tampa Tarpon Tournament, an annual event for many years on the Tampa Bay waterfront until the late 1980s.

The one-day tournament, set to debut before the full moon in May, is a strictly catch-and-release event with all proceeds going to benefit the University's Marine Science program.  Faculty and students conduct research on many of the organisms that live in Tampa Bay area aquatic habitats.


"This is an excellent way to showcase the success story of Tampa Bay, and at the same time help in the continuing effort for the bay's recovery as a vibrant ecosystem," said Bill Miller, chairman of the event.  "The demise of the old tournament was caused by the practice of killing the fish for weigh-in, and as anglers became more environmentally aware of the impact of the practice, they began dropping out," added Miller.


"Now that the population of tarpon has recovered, along with other aspects of Tampa Bay, we think this is a very good tournament to start up again with some very positive benefits."


Thousands of dollars worth of prizes and merchandise will be up for grabs for the field of anglers.


Anglers are encouraged to use a guide if they choose, but they will have to compete in the expert/guide division.  Entry fees are $200 per angler, $50 for juniors 14 and under.  Divisions include expert/guide, amateur, fly, women and juniors.  Categories include Most Fish and Hard-Luck divisions.  Anglers may enter the tournament on line at Web address  Checks may be made out to "The University of Tampa."  A portion of the entry fee may be tax deductible.


All tarpon entered in the Tampa Tarpon Tournament must be caught within Tampa or Hillsborough bays and their tributaries, or in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico between John's Pass, Pinellas County (latitude 27 degrees, 47 minutes north), and New Pass, Sarasota County (latitude 27 degrees, 19.2 minutes north).


Most fish caught and released in each division will determine winners.  Marine science student-observers will be on board each boat to certify the catch and to ensure compliance with IGFA rules.


"We are pleased to be able to participate in an event that will have such obvious benefits for our program and its students.  The marine science major is one of the largest and most popular programs at the University, and our students have gone on to do important research throughout the country for many years," said UT President Ronald L. Vaughn.


The event is hosted and organized by South Tampa's Bayside Marina, from which anglers will depart.  Fishing hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., to be followed by the awards ceremony.  The night before the tournament, May 18, the Captain's Party and Tournament meeting will commence at 6:30 p.m. at Bayside Marina, 5200 W. Tyson Ave., off Westshore Boulevard, about a mile south of Gandy Boulevard.


The old tournament enjoyed widespread support by Bay Area businesses and anglers and that is expected to be the case for this redesigned event.


Early sponsors include TECO Energy, Ferman Motor Car Company, Pepin Distributing, the Colonnade Restaurant, Johnny Leverock's Seafood House, Caspers Company McDonald's Restaurants, The Flyer publication, the Florida Aquarium, Davis Baldwin Insurance and Risk Management, Rodbender's, Cherry Design, Hall Printworks and Corporate Image Apparel.


For more information, contact the Office of Public Information at