The Miller High Life team, captained by Bobby Goodwin of Palm Harbor, topped the points list Sunday, May 21, during the first qualifying event of the 2006 Professional Tarpon Tournament Series, presented by Century Boats. Goodwin's team posted 562 points to jumpstart the second season of competition in Boca Grande, Florida.
Sixty-three teams hooked 81 tarpon during the three hours of fishing; 36 of those fish were released; 12 were weighed and released. The series employs a state-of-the art scale and weigh-boat system designed to ensure the live release of all tarpon.
Each team may weigh only one fish during qualifying events and receives points for fish released at the boat. Circle hooks and jigs designed not to break away are used in the pass for conservation purposes.
When a team decides to weigh a fish, the angler attaches a small line through a hole in the tarpon's mouth. The captain motors the fish, in the water, to the weigh boat, which is beached on the sand nearby.
The angler jumps in the water and directs the fish into a large sling supported by a hoist on the weigh boat. The hoist raises the fish so that an attached scale can measure its weight, then lowers it back to the water.
Before release, state biologists take a scale for genetic research. (The PTTS is the top genetic supplier for tarpon research in Florida.) The team then tows the tarpon slowly offshore and releases it.
The Professional Tarpon Tournament Series includes five qualifying events held during May and June. The top 25 qualifiers compete in the Jim Beam Tarpon Cup Championship at the end of the season.
Each qualifying-tournament winner takes home a Century Bay Boat, powered by a Yamaha F115 four-stroke engine, on a Continental aluminum trailer - a package valued at $25,000. Second and third place teams win cash prizes. The championship winner earns a Century 2202, powered by a Yamaha F225, on a Continental aluminum trailer - valued at $40,000.
The same point system that determines championship qualifiers also ranks teams in the Yamaha Team of the Year Race. The total series purse is $275,000 in cash and prizes.
The top 10 finishers after week one were Miller High Life, Bobby Goodwin (562 points); GiantTarpon.com, Robert McCue (558); Ranger/Yamaha, Artie Price (504); Ranger, Phil Hartman (400); Jim Beam, Brandon Naeve (348); Salt Rock, Cody Chivas (300); You-Zuri Hybrid, Ozzie Fischer (300); Ranger/Land O' Lakes Marina, Greg Devault (300); Red Baron Pizza, Doug Creek (300); Backwater, Bo Johnson (286).
For more information, visit www.tarponanglersclub.com.