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14th Annual Trippe’s Tarpon Tournament Benefits BTT’s Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project

The 14th Annual Trippe’s Tarpon Tournament (The 3T), held April 24-26, was once again a success, raising $7,000 in support of Bonefish & Tarpon Trust’s Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project, which has tagged more than 100 fish to date.

Over the years, the tournament has become increasingly focused on conservation and sustainability. Its unique 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.

“Early on, it was about bringing big fish to the boat and the scoring and activity reflected that,” said tournament founder and BTT member Steve Trippe. “We had an angler, Harvey Mueller, during the second year land a tarpon that measured 87 and 1/8 inches long with a 42 inch girth (230 lbs). I witnessed that catch and it is still the largest tarpon I have ever seen brought to the boat and released. Today, it’s about finding the fish, feeding the fish, jumping them a few times and letting them go after a very short fight, and our scoring has been adjusted to reward and reflect that. Or to put it another way, it’s about respecting the fish and the fishery more.”

This year’s 3T Tournament was sponsored by Offgrid Food Company, Early Riser Coffee, Orvis, Sage, Tibor, Yeti, Costa, The Saltwater Angler, The Fly Shop of Miami, Aviation Gin, Tyku Sake, One With Life Tequila, and Nautilus Reels. In addition, the 3T Tournament sponsored Capt. Bear Holeman for 3 days of tagging for BTT.

“The sport of fly-fishing is evolving with the passage of time, the changes in the environment, and the overall pressure on the fishery,” said Trippe. “I think we are on the leading edge of that in terms of what a tournament should actually look like. Our sponsors are fully behind that.”

One of this year’s highlights was the collaboration with Early Riser, Rockhouse Motion, BTT and the 3T Tournament to make a short film about BTT’s Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Program. The tournament also featured an update on the program from Dr. Aaron Adams, BTT’s Director of Science and Conservation.

The fishing steadily improved over the course of the three-day tournament. The most points were scored on the final day. The top five anglers were: Steve Trippe, Chris Kieg, Frank Smith, Lawson Stiff, and Kim Reichhelm. Capt. Bill Houze, with the team of Steve and Sarah Trippe, was the highest scoring guide. The T3 Tournament and BTT wish to thank Captains Will Benson, Bill Houze, Mitchell Dugger, Shane Smith, Gabe Nyblad, Jared Cyr, Brandon Cyr, Bear Holeman, and Travis Holeman.

(Photo: Early Riser)