The Miller High Life Professional Tarpon Tournament Series presented by Century Boats held Week #2 of its five week regular series events this past weekend in Boca Grande Pass, FL. A sold out field of fifty, four person teams competed in the three hour event. The event began with the presentation of the colors by members of the Florida Army National Guard, color guard, from Alpha Company 2-124, The Apache Company. Capping the Memorial Day tribute was US Army SGT Christina Oanes, who performed the National Anthem, for the event from Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
After five days of tropical storm like weather that produced nearly ten inches of rain and high winds with gusts of nearly forty knots, the weather pattern finally changed and with it the fishing. The Miller High Life PTTS set a record landing 72 fish during the three hour event, which equates to a Tarpon being landed once every three minutes. The 57 releases in the single day event is the largest number on record for any single day Tarpon tournament. The numbers of fish were impressive but the size of the catches were not far behind. Thirteen Tarpon were brought to the Miller’s Ale House weighboat tipping the Tires Plus scale at 2,139 LBS, bringing the average fish weight just above 140 LBS.
Former MLB pitcher, Capt. Doug Creek and his Century/Miller Chill team took an early lead weighing in a fish at 155 LBS.
“We’re happy.” Remarked Creek. “We’ve got a new team put together and we worked out the kinks last week, and we’re ready to go.”
Creek’s fish would eventually fall to third place, but his day continued to be fruitfull. He and his crew would land an additional three fish, and secure a single day record of 555 points in the Yamaha Team of the Year Race, moving him into the third place in the Race.
Legendary Boca Grande Captain, Jeff Totten, Team Century/Yamaha, would steal the show just after the first hour of competition, when his fish reached the Ale House weighboat and tipped the Tires Plus scale at 174 LBS, the largest fish weighed during the 2009 season.
“With so much action I wanted to find my own fish, so I used my Humminbird side imaging to find a small pod away from the pack and we got bit.” Said Totten on one of his keys to success.
“We got it boys.” Said Totten to his team after hearing the weight. “The weather this week has been so bad, I knew anything over 170 lbs. Was going to be hard to beat.” Totten’s prediction would hold true as fish after fish was brought to the scale with none ever being a serious threat to his lead. With the victory, Team Century/Yamaha won a new Century 2102 Inshore powered by a Yamaha F150 four stroke motor and Continental aluminum trailer.
As the event progressed the drama became which fish would remain in the Top 5 pay positions. Seven fish were weighed in between 140 and 150 lbs. Former NBA player, Matt Gieger, fishing for Team Courtside Grille, led by Ronnie Kien, hooked the fish which led them on a 20 minute battle during which that had to overcome a reel malfunctioning, and numerous Bull Sharks attempting to take there fish. The fish would eventually be landed and weighed, and placed second at 158 lbs.
Late in the event Team Howard Leasing, led by Captain Chuck Howard, winner’s of last year’s Week #2 event, would prove to be spoilers. The team capped a 47 minute battle which included entanglement with other competitors and shark attacks by landing a fish that would take fourth place, at 150 LBS.
Silently through the day Captain Artie Price and his Team Miller’s Ale House released three fish which moved them into first place in the Yamaha Team of the Year Race. Price, a three time Yamaha Team of the Winner, is happy to be back up top.
“We couldn’t seem to hook any big one’s, so we just decided to rack up points for Team of the Year to take the crown back.”
Teams earn points in the Race by weighing and releasing fish. Points are also awarded for Top 5 fish weight, placing in the Top 5, leading an event, and registering the most releases in a single event. The winner is crowned after the PTTS’s final regular series event during Week #5. This year’s winners will receive limited edition, Two karat Diamond encrusted Nucleus watches by Reactor Watch, valued at $7,500 a piece, along with a Yamaha F250 four stroke motor, for a total of nearly $50,000 in prizes. IN addition, the second place team will receive a trip to fish at the exclusive Crocodile Bay Resort in Costa Rica.
The Miller High Life PTTS season continues next Sunday, May 31st with the series double header event.
The Miller High Life PTTS presented by Century Boats is the largest and richest live-release tarpon tournament in the world, featuring five regular season events and one championship event all held in Boca Grande Pass, Fla. Teams may weigh one fish daily and obtain points towards the Yamaha Team of the Year Race by releasing placing, weighing and releasing fish. Camera crews are on hand during the PTTS to capture the action for a 13-week television series that airs on Sun Sports Network and World Fishing Network. This year the show will be available in over 37 million households nationwide and in Canada.
For more information and pictures please visit, www.TarponAnglersClub.com.