Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament -- “Twentieth Anniversary”


March 10, 2010

Contact Information: Lynda Lancaster

Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce


Mothers, daughters, sisters and friends supporting and inspiring each other...

The Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Twentieth Anniversary Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament, May 7th & 8th – twenty-years of mothers, daughters, sisters and friends supporting and inspiring each other. Every year on Mother’s Day weekend, two-hundred women and fifty boats take to the Boca Grande Pass that runs south of Gasparilla Island, Florida, the tarpon fishing capital of the world. The tournament is an island tradition for this quaint and historic community.

It all started twenty-years ago when a group of Boca Grande women got together and decided to have a tarpon tournament. There were three criteria: it had to be all women, it had to be all release and it had to be all fun. Those three requirements were what made that tournament unique. You see, the year was 1990 and tarpon tournaments were mostly all men, usually involved a dead tarpon or two hanging on a dock and the anglers took this business of tarpon fishing very very seriously.

Fast-forward twenty-years, Boca Grande Pass, 2010: Grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, aunts and friends -- multigenerational teams are now competing in what has become a pre Mother’s Day island tradition. This is the “unofficial” kickoff of the world famous tarpon season in Boca Grande, and those grandmothers fishing out there in the Boca Grande Pass are the ones that started it all.

Twenty-years ago, dragging a prize tarpon several miles to the dock and hanging it for all to see were the norm. This was not acceptable for the women who founded the Boca Grande Ladies Day Tournament. In fact, even the ritual of weighing and releasing a tarpon on site (still a common practice in some tournaments) was considered too stressful on such a beautiful creature. Today, that philosophy of “do no harm” has become a movement among the local tarpon fishermen.

“Last year’s tournament was the biggest ever, and we know our ladies will love what we are doing this year”, said Larissa Wells. Larissa is the Assistant Manager at the Englewood Bank in Boca Grande and is the chairperson of the Ladies Day Committee. “This year’s tournament includes the traditions of years past and adds a few new surprises that the committee members hope will become traditions of the future.”

The theme of the tournament is inspired by the original poster of twenty-years ago created by local artist JoJo Faulstich titled “Hook ‘em, Ride ‘em & Release ‘em”. “We had several talented artists submit their work to be considered for this year’s theme, but it was the original poster of twenty-years ago that we were drawn to -- It was an obvious choice – JoJo’s work is timeless – it’s just beautiful”, said Lynda Lancaster, Executive Director of the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce. A fine art giclee’ of JoJo’s original piece will be auctioned at the tournament.

For more information on the tournament and how to purchase items depicting Jo Jo Faulstich’s beautiful artwork, contact: Lynda Lancaster, Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce, 941-964-0568, or go to



Pink Camo Gal said...

So jealous!! Wish so badly that I could be there!!

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