BOCA GRANDE, Fla.—The Miller High Life Professional Tarpon Tournament Series presented by Century Boats held Week Three and Week Four of its five-week regular series events this past weekend in Boca Grande Pass, Fla. A sold out field of fifty, four person teams competed in the two three-hour events.
Heading into Week Three, the teams knew it would take a big fish to win, but no one guessed it would take a near record-size fish. Nearly an hour and a half into the tournament, Team Fast Lane, captained by Marty Scott of Englewood, Fla., hooked a fish that they knew was big.
"The fish stayed down for about twenty minutes" said Scott, "Then she came up and rolled and we got a good look at her and knew she was a winner."
Scott's prediction was spot-on. After an epic two-hour battle with the monster tarpon, which went into overtime, Team Fast Lane made its way to the Winghouse Weighboat where the fish tipped the Tires Plus scale at a whopping 210 pounds, the second largest Tarpon ever weighed in a Miller High Life PTTS event.
Fast Lane's fish bested the 179-pound tarpon that Team Salt Rock Grille/Pro Marine had weighed in just twenty minutes earlier.
"We thought we had it won," said Cody Chivas, captain of the Salt Rock Grille/Pro Marine team. "It's easier to accept second place when you get beat by that kind of fish."
Chivas and crew did not come away empty-handed, however. The points earned from their second place finish and a fish they had released earlier in the day put them solidly in the lead for the Yamaha Team of the Year Race at 1472 points.
The competition was also strong on the Miller Lite "Blue Deuce" boat as they released four fish and were awarded bonus points for most releases on the day.
At the end of the three-hour morning event, 87 fish had been hooked, with 34 being leader released, and eight making their way to the Wing House Weighboat.
Following solid action during the morning event, hopes were high for a repeat performance in the afternoon. Soon after the start of the Week Four competition, the teams knew that conditions had changed drastically. A strong outgoing tide curtailed the action on the water.
Nearly an hour had passed when Team Century/Yamaha radioed in their first hookup of the day. It took only 20 minutes for the team to bring their fish boatside. Totten was leery of weighing-in the fish as he estimated it at only 140 pounds.
"We knew the tide was going to pick up," said Totten. "I didn't think it was a winner, but I knew it would be a top-five fish."
Totten's prediction was nearly proved wrong as Team Century/Yamaha's fish sat atop the leaderboard for the rest of the event until rookie team KHS&S Contractors brought their fish boatside.
Team KHS&S, captained by Zack Lewis, hooked a fish with just under 30 minutes left in the event. After a tension-filled battle, their fish finally succumbed to the pressure put it on it by angler Riley Page.
"We lost six fish during Week Two," said Lewis. "We beefed up our leaders this week so we knew we could fight the fish hard."
Changing the leader may have been the deciding factor for the KHS&S as they were able to successfully hook, fight and land a 177-pound tarpon to take the victory.
The race to be crowned Yamaha Team of the Year is in the final stretch as the PTTS enters its final week of regular season competition. Team Salt Rock Grille/Pro Marine sets atop the point standings with fellow Century teammate Jeff Hagaman and Team Century/Odyssey Batteries only 267 points behind.
The final event of the PTTS regular season is next Sunday, June 8th.
The Miller High Life PTTS presented by Century Boats is the largest and richest live-release tarpon tournament in the world, featuring five regular season events and one championship event all held in Boca Grande Pass, Fla. Teams may weigh one fish daily and obtain points towards the Yamaha Team of the Year Race by releasing placing, weighing and releasing fish. Camera crews are on hand during the PTTS to capture the action for a 13-week television series that airs on Sun Sports Network and World Fishing Network. This year the show will be available in over 37 million households nationwide and in Canada.
For more information and pictures please visit, www.TarponAnglersClub.com