So it came as a bit of a surprise to find out that Hastings had never actually been in a tarpon tournament in his life. What is truly amazing is that of everyone on the winning team from Saturday’s Howl at the Moon Tarpon Tournament, he has the most experience with actually catching the fish.
“Bob Jewett had only caught one tarpon in his life,” said Hastings. “Jay Spurgeon hasn’t caught one in 20 years, though he has taken many people out to fish for them. And Mark Paquin had never even been tarpon fishing.”
The team, aboard the Jill Marie with Capt. David Chatham, released four fish in the tournament to win. Each team member brought one fish to the boat.
“Capt. Dave even managed to get a DNA sample from all four of them, using the kits that we brought with us,” said Hastings.
All together there were 21 fish released in the three-hour tournament.
Second place went to the team of Alex Shouppe, Byron Shouppe, Chris Sanders and Preston Hearn on the Hey Moma! with Capt. Wayne Joiner. They released three tarpon.
The team on Capt. Waylon Mills’ Blaze took third, with the release of the last fish by a team that was not in first or second place. Angie Mills, Karen Conroy and Sally Joiner had a total of three releases that night.
"As we have since day one, we remain committed to catch and immediate release,” said tournament organizer Sandy Melvin. “This leaves the tarpon healthy and strong to fight another day. We had an average fight time of six minutes for each of the twenty one releases. That's a great job by the captains and anglers."
The team from the Jill Marie are planning a repeat performance at this weekend’s Turnin’ Tides All-Release Tournament.
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