Tarpon Roundup: The all-release 77th annual Suncoast Tarpon Roundup, one of the oldest and most prestigious tarpon events in Florida, begins today and runs for 10 weekends through July 23.
After receiving input from numerous anglers, the tournament's board of directors changed the format from previous years. To create a more level playing field, a weekend-only format will be implemented. This year, fishing will begin on Fridays at 5 p.m. and end most Sundays at midnight.
There are eight divisions: regular, junior, women's, landlubber, senior, doubles, adult/junior and jackpot, which is optional.
Since the tournament is all-release, anglers must get a DNA sample to qualify as a release, except in the case of the landlubber division. A release in this division is credited when the leader is touched with a gaff and confirmed by a witness.
Winners will be determined by most releases. Weekly prizes will be awarded, and one angler could win as much as $5,000.
To register, walk-ins can go to Mastry's Tackle (1700 Fourth St. S) in St. Petersburg or download the form from the event website (suncoasttarponroundup.org) and mail it in. Entry fees are $125 for the regular division and $25 for juniors.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at (727) 510-4376.