The 59th annual Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Fly Fishing Tournament, one of the most revered fly fishing tournaments in the world, is known wherever anglers pursue the Silver King with a fly. It has been referred to as the “World Series” of tarpon fishing and consists of five days of competition. This year was especially exciting as fishing far exceeded previous year’s numbers as well as provided some real suspense each day.
Talented Fly-Anglers were able to pull in a total of 103 fish during the five-day stretch in June, consisting of 70 Release and 33 Weight Fish, the best tarpon fishing during this prestigious tournament in some time. Teams of Anglers and Guides compete for various trophy and sponsor-donated items. The real honor is for the overall winning team to have their names added to the 59-year-old perpetual trophy. The historic GCTT trophy is showcased locally at The Florida Keys Outfitters.
Second-time Grand Champion Angler Dave Preston, from Miami, Florida, and Guide to Grand Champion Capt. Luis Cortes earned their Grand Championship title with 6,850 points, consisting of seven Release Fish and five Weight Fish for the week. Preston and Cortes’s Weight Fish weighed in at 99.7, 132.5 96.8, 74.5 and 71.5 pounds.
First Runner Up Angler Mike Criscola, of Fair Haven, and Guide Capt. Eric Herstedt earned 5,295 points. They are one of one of the rare teams to catch the five weight fish limit by day four, allowing the last day of fishing to consist of chasing release fish that are at least four feet long, instead of chasing the biggest fish that would count as weight fish. They also caught fish every day, which is an oddity during the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament.
For more information, visit GoldCupTT.com.