New boundaries. New sponsors. The World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament will be back in 2012, and it will be back in a big way.
The announcement was made by the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce this week that the boundaries will include extended waters. The east boundary will be from the entrance to Bull Bay to the northwest tip of Bokeelia. The west boundary will be the third red bell buoy in the Gulf of Mexico, the southern boundary will be the mouth of the Cayo Costa lagoon and the northern boundary will be the range light.
The prestigious Jay Joiner Memorial Award will also be included in this tournament for the first-place winner, and will be presented by the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association.
The tournament, which will be held on May 17 and 18, 2012, is a combination of the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association Tournament and the chamber’s “World’s Richest” event. The Guides Association has endorsed the times, dates and rules.Guy Harvey has also signed on as a gold sponsor for the tournament, and his artwork will be prominently featured.
“The importance of getting Guy Harvey is tremendous,” said Lew Hastings, executive director of the chamber. “They love the conservation aspect of the tournament. It’s a huge deal for us to be endorsed by Guy Harvey.”
Harvey is an artist, philanthropist and conservationist who created the Guy Harvey Research Institute and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation. He is an ardent support of “catch-and-release” fishing ethics for game fish around the world.
Hastings and other chamber representatives met with Harvey’s representatives at the Fort Lauderdale boat show recently, and he immediately jumped on board.
Another new twist for this year’s “World’s Richest” includes the fact that judges and observers will be trained by representatives from the International Game Fish Association. It is an organization recognized worldwide since 1940 for creating the universal code of sporting ethics when it comes to game fishing.
Anyone interested in being an observer for the tournament can contact the chamber office, 964-0568, to sign up for the afternoon course.
“The IGFA will be training observers for that conservation aspect,” Hastings said. “It goes right along with the spirit of the tournament.”
The Bonefish & Tarpon Trust has also been in contact with Hastings, and they are excited about the conservation aspect of the tournament.
“They are, in some capacity, going to be present at the tournament and the weekend-long Silver King Celebration,” Hastings said.
Hastings said that in light of Guy Harvey, Bonefish Tarpon Trust and the IGFA being affiliated with the “World’s Richest,” that more big sponsors might be just around the corner.
“These are all just more arrows in the quiver,” he said. “Every time I speak to someone new, once they listen to what our ultimate goal is, they want to sign up.”
The tournament rules have changed a little. First place will go to the team that has the most releases, second place will go to the second most releases, and third place will go to the angler with the last fish hooked in the tournament, followed by an official release by a team that is not in first or second.
In the event there is no winner, the award money designated for the position that do not result in a winner will be returned equally to entrants.
The entry fee is $2,000 per team and the limit of entries is 50.
Acceptable fishing line will be a 50-pound minimum rating.
For more information on the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament, go to worldsrichesttarpon.com or call the chamber office at 964-0568.
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