ISLAMORADA Florida Keys – Twenty-five boats competed in the waters off the Florida Keys to catch and release tarpon a of minimum of four feet in length over five days of fly fishing. The twenty five teams released 52 silver kings on 12 pound class tippet and 13 silver kings on 16 pound class tippet.
Greg Smith, of Laguna Vista, TX earned Grand Champion honors with 11 releases all on 12 pound tippet. Smith was guided by Captain Scott Collins of Marathon, FL. Scott was the guide to past Hawley Grand Champion David Dalu in 2007 and 2008. Greg Smith just won the Grand Championship of the 14th Outback Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament May 25th with Captain Rob Fordyce and the Del Brown Permit Tournament with Captain Scott Collins in July 2008.
Steve Ward, of Coppell, TX, fishing with Captain Rick Murphy of Homestead, were the Champions of the 12 pound tippet division catching 6 tarpon. The First Runner-up team was Rand Holstead, of Houston, TX fishing with Captain Brian Helms. First time angler Bart Beasley, of Charleston, SC and Captain Perry Coleman, won Second Runner-up honors as well as Best New Angler. .
Three teams were tied with 4 tarpon each in the 16 Pound Division; ties are broken with the last fish caught first prevailing. Kevin Lyden, of Port Chester, NY teamed up with Captain Greg Poland of Islamorada to release his 4 tarpon first and win the 16 pound tippet division. The First Runner-up in the 16 pound division went to Paul Nute, of Islamorada with Captain Bou Bosso. Second Runner-up angler was Keith Robbins, of Seattle, WA fishing with Captain Jared Raskob. Shay Doll Wilton of Idaho took the coveted Best Other Fish category with Captain Robert Klein by catching a black grouper.
This event is a fund raiser for The Guide Trust, formally known as The Hawley Foundation. The Guide Trust was created in 1976 to support guides in times of hardship and has also awarded scholarships to deserving young students from the Florida Keys.