STAFF REPORT – After taking 2020 off because of COVID-19, the Gasparilla Island Kids Classic Tarpon Tournament will return on Saturday, June 5, and will be held in Boca Grande Pass from 3 to 6 p.m.
According to Capt. Sandy Melvin, the founder and coordinator osf the tournament, this is the world’s greatest kids fishing tournament for children ages 15 and under (cannot be age 16 on tournament day).
Teams will consist of one captain and a maximum of four anglers, and the entry fee is $1,000 per team.
Kids may not receive assistance with fighting a tarpon other than from their angler team-mates. Captains/mate may not help advance a tarpon to the boat. Violation of this rule may result in the catch being disqualified. Teams may not substitute anglers without official approval.
All contestants and captains agree that any ruling/decision by the tournament judge is final.
One hundred percent of all entry fees from this event are donated to the tournament’s charitable partners and benefit children’s health and educational programs throughout Southwest Florida.
“With great support from our sponsors and contributors, in just eight short years we have now raised over $282,000 for institutions and programs such as Moffitt Cancer Center, The Island School, The Charlotte County School System’s S.T.E.M Camp program, Easter Seals of Southwest Florida and Dee Wheeler Scholarship Fund,” Melvin said. “We have also donated toThe Boca Grande Historical Society, Gasparilla Island Maritime Museum, Boca Grande Fishing Guide Association, the Bonefish and Tarpon Trust.”
The schedule of events on the day of fishing is as follows:
At 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. boat check will begin at Pink Elephant docks and Whidden’s Marina. All teams must check-in and receive the official tournament flag to participate.
At 2:40 p.m. a conservation message will be given by Dr. Aaron Adams, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust. At 2:42 p.m. the “Blessing of the Event” will take place.
At 2:45 p.m. will be honoring troops and veterans, followed by the singing of the National Anthem.
At 3 p.m. to tournament begins and concludes at 6 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m. the awards presentation will be held at the Boca Grande Community Center, and will include food, drinks and entertainment.
If you are interested in getting a team together, go to bocagrandecharities.org or call (941) 964-0907. Deadline for team submission is May 15.