BY MARCY SHORTUSE - Capt. Dave Chatham and his team aboard the Jill Marie are on a roll. He took first place in the Ladies Howl at the Moon Tournament two weekends ago, and first place in the Howl at the Moon Tournament as well. If he fishes and the Turnin’ Tides Tournament on June 23 ... well, his fellow anglers had better look out.
The 9th Annual Howl at the Moon Tarpon Tournament yielded 25 tarpon releases, with a 3 minute average for release times.
Anglers aboard the Jill Marie, who included Jill Chatham, Lew Hastings, Mary Anne Hastings and Terry Meiser, were more than a little happy with their win. Last year Lew’s team (different anglers as teammates, same boat) took first in this same tournament, and he was defending his reigning title. To top it all off, Mary Anne had never caught a tarpon before.
View More images >>“We went almost all the way to the end, in the last half hour actually, when I got a bite,” she said. “It required a lot of strength. I didn’t realize my arm would cramp up so bad, and I had problems holding the reel. Not being a fisherwoman, I apparently don’t often use that muscle. Not to mention the fact that Capt. Dave figured it was about 130 pounds, a pretty big one.
“Considering my inexperience, and my ineptitude, we did OK. And, it was the winning fish. It put us over the top. They were all screaming at me and I was in a state of panic, picturing myself losing the tournament for the whole team. I just kept thinking how I had to bring this fish in. At that point we had released three fish and were tied with another team, so I had to get that fourth fish.”
Mary Anne has fished three times previously in attempts to catch a tarpon, but to no avail. She wasn’t even supposed to fish the tournament, her daughter Corynne had signed up. When Corynne couldn’t,
Mary Anne stepped in ... and won big.
Second place went to Capt. Matt Coleman’s team aboard Faithful II with three releases, and the third place team was aboard the Hey, Moma! with Capt. Wayne Joiner. Third place went to the team that had the last release of the night, and theirs was hooked up by angler Bryon Shouppe at 10:59 p.m. It was released at 11:07 p.m.
Bonnie McGee, the observer for the team, said they were thrilled to see what the clock read when angler Bryon Shouppe hooked up.
“Everyone looked at each other and thought, ‘We got this,’” she said.
It was a bit of a bummer for Capt. Willie Mills, though, whose team aboard the Tracy Lynn had a hook-up just a minute before, at 10:58 p.m.
“We had a great night of tarpon fishing in Boca Grande,” said Capt. Sandy Melvin of Gasparilla Outfitters, who coordinates the Howl at the Moon tournaments every year. “That third place win was pretty exciting, they got their fish in just under the wire.”
All hook-ups and releases for the 9th Annual Howl are as follows:
Tracy Lynn, 9:05/9:06 p.m., angler Chris HahnFaithful II, 9:19/9:21 p.m., angler David CayoBlaze, 9:19/9:24 p.m., angler Karen ConroyAñejo, 9:20/9:22 p.m., angler John DeliveringCasuarina, 9:35/9:41 p.m., angler Emily WiseJill Marie, 9:36/9:38 p.m., angler Lew HastingsPhil Jack (Libo), 9:38/9:40 p.m., angler Joe TvarochBlaze, 9:41/9:44 p.m., angler Erin KayeTracy Lynn, 9:47/9:52 p.m., angler Chris HahnFaithful II, 9:53/9:55 p.m., angler Bob CayoJill Marie, 9:57/9:59 p.m., angler Jill ChathamPhil Jack (Libo), 10:04/10:07 p.m., angler Dave KardysSquaw!, 10:05/10:07 p.m., angler Missy MullerBoca Blue, 10:07/10:11 p.m., angler Bob Melvin Sr.Faithful II, 10:10/10:12 p.m., angler David CayoPhil Jack (Libo), 10:17/10:19 p.m., angler Chris NabelCasuarina, 10:22/10:29 p.m., angler Nicole ColemanLittle Spook, 10:24/10:28 p.m., angler Zach BosyAñejo, 10:28/10:32 p.m., angler John DeLaVergneJill Marie, 10:32/10:34 p.m., angler Lew HastingsCasuarina, 10:33/10:39 p.m., angler Howard WiseBlaze, 10:37/10:38 p.m., angler Karen ConroyJill Marie, 10:37/10:41 p.m., angler Mary Anne HastingsTracy Lynn, 10:58/11:01 p.m., angler Clay MeadHey, Moma!, 10:59/11:07 p.m., angler Bryon Shouppe
The next tarpon tournament in Boca Grande Pass will be the Turnin’ Tides Tournament on Sunday, June 23, 4 to 7 p.m., with awards to follow at the dock. Angie Mills, that tournament’s coordinator, can be reached at (941) 270-0289 for more information.
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