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Tampa Tarpon Tournament Set For May 31

Published: March 21, 2003

The third annual Colonial Bank Tampa Tarpon Tournament will be held May 31 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.


More than 150 anglers are expected to participate in the event, which is dedicated to marine science and raising public awareness about the health of the Tampa Bay estuary.


In the last three years, almost $90,000 has been pledged in sponsorships, prizes and gifts for the one-day charity event to benefit The University of Tampa marine science program. After expenses last year, the tournament netted about $29,000 for the program.


A silent auction will feature thousands of dollars worth of marine merchandise sold to the high bidder. Each division shall have trophies for first, second and third places. Division winners each receive a $1,000 cash prize. The overall winner has the choice of a $1,000 cash prize or a one-year lease on a Chevy pickup truck provided by Buddy Foster Chevrolet of Zephyrhills.


“This event is not just another fishing tournament, it’s a celebration of the recovery of Tampa Bay as the second most successful environmental recovery of an estuary in the nation,” said Mike Emmanuel, a tournament director.


“The Marine Science facility is another way to perpetuate that recovery, and it provides a way for the people of the Bay Area to participate directly in that process,” said Emmanuel.


The strictly catch-and-release tournament will be held out of Tampa’s Bayside Marina on Saturday, May 31, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Anglers are encouraged to use a licensed guide if they choose, and they will have to compete in the expert/guide division. Entry fees are $200 per angler, $100 for juniors 14 and under. Divisions include expert/guide, amateur and fly. Categories include Most Fish, Hard-Luck, Women and Juniors.


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


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).


Anglers may enter the tournament online at Checks may be made out to "The University of Tampa." A portion of the entry fee may be tax deductible.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Information at