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Trippe Invitational Tarpon Tournament Benefits BTT's Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project

Photos courtesy of Andrew O'Neil. Above: Tournament Sponsor Spencer Trippe releases a tagged tarpon.

The 12th Annual Trippe Invitational Tarpon Tournament, held the week of April 10, was once again a success. In addition to many fish jumped and caught, the tournament continued its focus on conservation. Funds raised at the tournament are being  applied to the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Program, which so far has tagged more than 50 tarpon. In fact, one of the tarpon tagged at the 2017 Tournament was recorded near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay in October 2017. 

At this year’s tournament, a 65-pound tarpon was tagged in Key West Harbor with Capt. Bear Holeman, BTT Director of Science & Conservation Dr. Aaron Adams, and Spencer Trippe, founder of tournament sponsor OFFGRID Food Co. It will be interesting to learn if this tarpon is also a long-distance traveler or remains in South Florida.  

In addition to focusing on conservation by supporting BTT projects, this tournament is unique in that the scoring system rewards good catch and release practices – for example, anglers can score enough points to win the tournament by jumping fish (each jump is awarded points) and retaining their fly. Penalties apply for fights that last too long or losing a tarpon to a predator. 

This year’s tournament was sponsored by Sage, Rio, Tibor, Tito’s Vodka, and OFFGRID Food Co. with Tito’s sponsoring the tagging boat and OFFGRID supplying food products to all anglers and guides. Additionally, the tournament this year hired cameraman Andrew O’Neil to capture video, pictures and conduct interviews with tournament sponsors, founders and of course BTT. The message is about tagging, conservation and sustainable fisheries. The video should be ready by late May and will go out on the BTT website as well as the tournament sponsor’s websites. Trippe Invitational Tarpon anglers sponsored the video as part of their entry fee. 

This year’s Tournament was won by first-time tournament participant Caroline Smith, fishing with guide Gabe Nyblad. They finished well ahead in the points total. Off Grid Food Co. is awarding Ms. Smith with a Conservation Sponsor Membership to BTT.

BTT is proud to partner with Trippe’s Invitational Tarpon Tournament, which is continuing to voice a strong conservation message and to demonstrate dedication to the science needed to inform conservation scientists. We also wish to thank the following guides: Will Benson, Bill Houze, Mitchell Dugger, Shane Smith, Gabe Nyblad, Jared Cyr, Brandon Cyr and Bryan “Bear” Holeman.

(Right: Dr. Aaron Adams implants an acoustic transmitter in a tarpon.)