ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys — Laguna Vista, Texas fly angler Greg Smith fishing with Captain Rob Fordyce prevailed over 27 teams in the 17th Outback Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament, which took place May 23 – 25 at Outback Steakhouse in Islamorada, Florida Keys.
Smith and his guide, Captain Rob Fordyce of Homestead, FL, took an early lead on day one, with 2 weight fish and one release. They held the lead on day two catching another weight fish and 5 releases, finishing off with two more weight fish, “strapping out” in three days. A tarpon must be a minimum of 70 pounds to qualify for a weight fish and 48 inches to qualify for a release. The girth is measured with a strap around the largest part of the tarpon. Each angler is allowed to “strap” 5 fish during the tournament, release fish only count when a weight fish has been caught. Captain Rob Fordyce is no stranger in the winner’s circle at tarpon tournaments. This is the second time Rob has won the Golden Fly. Rob has been guide to the Grand Champion in the Hawley, the Gold Cup and the Ladies Tarpon Tournament.
The tournament’s First Runner-up was Paul Nute of Islamorada, guided by Captain Bou Boss. Paul caught 2 weight fish and two releases. Steve Ward, of Coppell, Texas fishing with Captain Randy Towe caught and released a 155 pound tarpon to win the Billy Pate Memorial Largest Tarpon award.
Second runner-up was Roger Fernandez, of Pinecrest, FL, guided by Captain Eric Herstedt caught one weight fish and 5 releases. The Senior Grand Champion was Tony Nobregas of Islamorada fishing with Captain Rick Murphy of Homestead, FL catching 2 release fish.
Total tarpon releases were 31 and total weight fish were 11 over the three days of the tournament. The Outback Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament provides scholarships to students from the FL Keys. The dates for next year are May 21 -23, 2012.