Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Party marks beginning of Suncoast Tarpon Roundup

Fishing for tarpon has been a big activity in this area for decades, as evidenced by the eight-decade history of the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup. This year’s tournament begins May 17 and runs through July 25.

Courtesy of Ed Walker

Fishing for tarpon has been a big activity in this area for decades, as evidenced by the eight-decade history of the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup. This year’s tournament begins May 17 and runs through July 25.

Back in May 1934, people didn't have much to celebrate. Unemployment peaked at 21 percent. The Midwest had turned into a dust bowl. On the international stage, Adolf Hitler was stirring up all kinds of trouble in Europe.

But in St. Petersburg, fishermen had one thing to keep them happy: tarpon. The silver king of gamefish loved to run along local beaches. The little fishing village down the coast called Boca Grande might get all the city slickers, but local anglers knew Tampa Bay had just as many fish, without the crowds.

Newspapers of the day were full of stories about schools of these chrome-bodied brutes so large off the downtown pier that the fish could be herded just like cattle. That was when somebody decided to get the whole town in on the fun and have a tarpon roundup.

On Saturday, the 80th Suncoast Tarpon Roundup, the world's oldest and largest tarpon tournament, will hold a kickoff party from 3-6 p.m. at the Bay Pines Marina in St. Petersburg. This all-release event attracts the best tarpon anglers in the Tampa Bay area.

The roundup is a not-for-profit organization that promotes sportsmanship, research and education. The tournament has divisions for both adults and juniors. It is not uncommon to find two, three and even four generations of anglers in the same family who have fished in the Suncoast Tarpon Roundup.

In its heyday, fishermen from across the United States came to St. Petersburg to fish for tarpon. An advertisement in the June 1936 issue of National Sportsman magazine urged anglers to head south: "For the thrill of a lifetime, come to Florida's Gulf Coast … and fish for the gamest fish that swims … fast as greased lighting."

Before Tampa Bay had professional baseball, football and hockey, the two biggest sports in town were fishing and sailing. The Suncoast Tarpon Roundup was the social event of the season. They even crowned a "Tarpon Queen," who rode a parade float down Central Avenue.

This year, the roundup will let junior anglers (14 and under) fish for free. But they must register before fishing.

Regular angler registration is $150. The tournament begins May 17 and ends July 25. Check suncoasttarponroundup.org for more information.

Party marks beginning of Suncoast Tarpon Roundup 05/08/14 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2014 7:33pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Pro Bowl returning to Orlando in 2018

    Bucs

    ORLANDO — The Pro Bowl will return to Orlando in 2018 for the second straight year.

    Bucs  wide receiver Mike Evans runs a route as Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. defends during the first quarter of the AFC-NFC Pro Bowl in January at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  2. Erasmo Ramirez makes his third start of the season.
  3. If Tony Dungy sticks around, he'll broadcast the 2021 Tampa Super Bowl for NBC

    Bucs

    Lost in the Super Tuesday news of the Super Bowl coming back to Tampa was this nugget:

    Pictured, from left, Dan Patrick, co-Host, Tony Dungy, studio analyst, Aaron Rodgers. [Ben Cohen/NBC]
  4. Tragedy, tenacity helped shape Ridgewood valedictorian Johannah Cummines

    Volleyball Preps

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Even if her daily routine didn't permit calories to melt off, Johannah Cummines would deserve to pick anything on the menu.

    Ridgewood High senior Johannah Cummines and mom Chenell. Cummines is headed to Florida Atlantic, where she will play beach volleyball. (Photo courtesy of Johannah Cummines)
  5. Bucs Roberto Aguayo kicks off 2017 on the wrong foot

    Blogs

    The goal posts still seem to be moving for Roberto Aguayo.

    The Bucs woebegone place-kicker, who is in a battle with veteran Nick Folk, went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights, the first day of full squad Organized Team Activities.

    If that weren’t …

    Roberto Aguayo went 1-for-4 in field goal tries from 35-40 yards Tuesday on a set of narrow uprights.