“Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament Is Friday, May 19!
Sanibel Fishing & Captiva Fishing, Captiva Island, Saturday, May 13: registration for this coming Friday’s 6th Annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament is sold out; the tarpon are rolling out there – see more info below! Here’s the latest Red Tide Report (summary: no red tide); for more fishing reports from other areas and Captains, please also visit the Sanibel, Fort Myers, Florida Fishing Report and Cuban Fishing sites. Better water & fishing on the tide changes moving north of Sanibel up through Captiva & North Captiva.
We’re located at Castaways Marina, Santiva, Sanibel Island, just before the Blind Pass bridge to Captiva Island.
6th Annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament Rules & Regulations
All information courtesy of the “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament.
- 1st Place: TEAM CHASIN POON ~ Gary Biltgen, Matt Mitchell, Mary Laser, Wade Robert – $12,037.
- 2nd Place: TEAM TEASER ~ Stewart Hehenberger, Rhett Dixson, Jack Hehenberger, Brandon Barnhill – $6,687.
- May 18, 2017, Captain’s Meeting & Auction: 5-9 p.m.
- May 19, 2017, Tournament: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Purse: 100% of the entry fees will go to the tournament winners
All sponsorships and gifts will go to the Charity (“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society) to support conservation efforts at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
- Tournament Entry Fee: Pre-Registration is $500 per boat/team with up to 4 anglers.
- Each additional person is $150 with a maximum of 6 anglers per boat.
- Once officially registered, all entry fees are non-refundable. Deadline for Entry is May 1, 2017.
- Each person on the boat must be entered in the tournament. No non-competitors are allowed on the boat during competition hours.
Licensed Guides & Checkin
- Licensed guides may fish as anglers.
- Check-In – Team Check-in opens at 5:00 p.m. and closes at 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 18, 2017.
- All anglers are invited to attend the Captains Dinner. Check-in table located at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill, Ft. Myers Beach, FL.
- The captain or a designated crewmember must check in at the table to receive tournament credentials, captain’s bags, t-shirts, and other tournament related materials.
- Only one designated team member will attend the captains’ rules review meeting.
- The remaining members can stay outside and enjoy the auction, food, and entertainment.
- Rules will be printed and placed in each angler bag to review the night prior.
This is a boat tournament. All boats must leave from designated marker and those with possible wins must return to tournament headquarters to qualify for prizes.
- Boundaries are unlimited for the area Gulf and Bays, including the Caloosahatchee River.
- However, there is to be NO CANAL fishing.
- Other than for emergency’s, there is to be NO sharing of tarpon information from other tournament boats/anglers or non-competitors during tournament hours of 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. by any form of communication, including all social media platforms.
- This is a competition among the paid participants and not their friends helping in other boats.
Truth Verification Test
- Winning Captains WILL be required to submit and pass a truth verification test prior to being presented any prize.
- Failure to submit to such test automatically revokes all claims to prizes and disqualifies the Captain and crew from the tournament.
- Your entry in this tournament implies expressed approval that you and all anglers and crew members will submit to a truth verification test if requested by the Rules Committee.
Fishing & Boating Laws
- Competitors must obey all local, state and federal laws while participating in this tournament, including the no wake laws in all areas. All anglers are responsible for knowing and abiding by the rules of the tournament and by the state and federal laws governing safety and fishing in this tournament.
- Please ensure that all anglers have current fishing licenses. NO jig fishing will be allowed. Circle hooks are required for natural bait (dead or alive). (According to the FWC, research shows that circle hooks improve catch rates and reduce hooking mortality which results in positive impacts on fish).
- All boats must leave from designated markers by water on the day of the tournament. No trailering.
- Each boat will be assigned a boat number. This boat number must be displayed to the official starter upon departure, during all fishing hours.
- Any teams in a possible prize position MUST return to tournament headquarters by 5:00 p.m. to check in.
All other non-prize teams need only call to acknowledge they are off the water and finished with the tournament.
- If any winning teams do not return to tournament headquarters after the tournament, they will not be eligible for prizes.
- All teams are required to call in their catch status with verification of a photo or video.
- All teams must fish together from the officially registered boat for the duration of the tournament. If a mechanical issue arises and necessitates a new boat, call tournament headquarters to inform of the change.
- During the Captains’ meeting, each captain will need to register their hull number. Please use tournament team boat number when checking in or out via radio or cell phone.
This is a Catch, Release & Care Tournament
- All Fishing must be done from the boat.
- Fish caught and counted for the tournament must be an adult tarpon, at approximately 45 to 50 pounds or more.
- Because this is a catch, release & care tournament, anglers will not be weighing or measuring the fish, but a best estimate by the anglers and photos will be taken into account.
- A tarpon will be judged caught when the angler or one of the team members touches below the leader knot (NOT the double line) and secures a photo or video with the wristband of the team number showing.
If an angler is eligible for an individual award and wants to go for that award (senior, female), the tarpon must be hooked and caught by that one person.
- No other person may touch the rod, reel or line until the leader is at the boat. At that time another person may touch the leader only for the purpose of releasing the catch.
- Circle hooks on natural bait (dead or alive) are required in this tournament. Any angler determined to have caught a tarpon using a baited (natural bait) J-hook will be disqualified.
- The fish must be released alive to be counted. No points will be awarded for any boated tarpon.
- Maximum of 6 lines allowed in the water at one time. This includes rods being used to catch bait.
- All fish must be caught on rod and reel.
Bait, Add-Ons, Leaders, Gaffs & Ties
- Artificial and live bait will be allowed.
- Circle hooks are required for natural bait (dead or alive).
- Add-Ons – once the tournament has started, NO items and/or people will be allowed to be transferred to any vessel in the competition. This includes, but is not limited to, bait, equipment etc.
- Leader – any size leader material may be used. The leader may be no longer than 6 feet from the main line and/or double line.
- If a rod is broken while playing a fish, the fish may still be landed and counted.
- The use of gaffs on a tarpon is not permitted. Jigging is not permitted.
- Ties will be broken by the time the 1 st tarpon are caught by the team.
Validating, Photographing & The Catch Reporting
- To qualify for points each release must be called into Tournament Headquarters immediately and be acknowledged by the Scorekeeper.
- Call in numbers will be in the angler bags. In order for your fish to count in tournament standings, each boat must call in their catch, time of catch and send a photo or video to the scorekeeper with the wristband showing.
- Teams who may be in a winning position must be back at Doc Ford’s FMB with their photos/video no later than 5:00 p.m. (unless a late hookup and then it is 5:30 p.m.)
Photographing your catch – while touching the leader, a teammate must photograph or videotape the leader touch and the tarpon. The time the fish is caught must be called in or texted as well.
- The wristband and team number, which will be provided at the captains meeting, must be visible.
- Digital cameras must be provided by the Angler and/or Guide. These cameras can also be from cell phones. A photograph on the digital camera’s screen, of the leader touch and fish caught, must be sent via cell phone or shown to the scorekeeper at the end of the tournament. If the photo is taken by a smartphone, then the photo can be sent directly via email or text to the scorekeeper, but you must receive confirmation that it was received.
Fishing Hours: 7 AM – 4 PM
- On the day of the tournament (May 19) tournament boats will meet at Marker “2” (red) which is near the Sanibel causeway CSpan bridge (Gulf Side) to check in with the official tournament boat (Diversified Yacht Services Boat) for scheduled departures. Boats will be called in order.
- At 6:30 a.m. (approximately), boats will be called in order of their registration numbers given during the Captain’s Meeting, which will be based upon date and time of official paid entry.
- Any teams NOT arriving at the tournament boat BEFORE 7:30 a.m. will not be eligible for prizes.
Lines in the water at 7:00 a.m. Each line must be removed from the water by 4:00 p.m. unless your hook-up time prior to 4:00 p.m. has been registered with the tournament official either by radio or cell phone and acknowledged.
- The deadline for final post check-in will be 5:30 p.m. sharp. Numbers to call on tournament day will be announced at the meeting and all anglers will be given laminated cards with the numbers.
- For safety reasons it is IMPORTANT that ALL captains check in at the end of the tournament either by boat, radio or phone, letting the tournament know you are off the water.
- This is an honor system tournament with each angler being responsible for his/her own performance.
- Any person witnessing a rules violation has a right to file a protest, but there will be a $250 cash deposit for any protest.
- If the protest is upheld by the committee, the money will be returned. If not, the amount is forfeited and goes directly to the charity.
- All protests must be submitted in written form to the tournament rules committee by 5:30 pm on the day of fishing that the proposed infraction occurred.
- Once the awards presentation begins, all results of the tournament are considered fair and final. All decisions made by the Tournament Rules Committee with regards to protest or truth verification examinations are final.
- There is no weather committee.
- The determination to fish is at the sole discretion of the captain and crew, who assume all liability for their decisions.
- The Tournament Rules Committee reserves the right to call the tournament for any weather related or safety related issue.
- Five teams entered in the tournament will be contacted by the tournament committee to get their input on the weather and majority decision will rule.
- If Friday, May 19 is determined “not fishable”, the tournament may be held Saturday, May 20.
- Entry fees are nonrefundable.
- Female Anglers: female anglers will compete in the regular tournament above with no separate cash prizes. However, a prize and special recognition will be given to the non-professional female angler with the most catches.
- Senior Anglers (Age 60+): senior anglers (male & female) will compete in the regular tournament above with no separate cash prizes. However, a prize and special recognition will be given to the non-professional senior angler with the most catches.
Amateur Team: Any team with NO professional angler or guide will compete in the regular tournament above. However, a prize and special recognition will be given to the amateur team (one with NO professional angler on its team) with the most catches.
100% payback on entry fees
- Grand Champion – 45%
- 2nd Place – 25%
- 3rd Place – 15%
- 4th Place – 10%
- 5th Place – 5%
- All cash and merchandise awards will be made to the tournament entrant(s) and a valid SSN is required to receive awards. Anglers must be present at awards ceremony to receive awards.
- If no fish are caught in the five possible place settings, the prize winnings will be rolled into the 2018 tournament.
- Rules updated: May 12, 2017
We’re big advocates of catch and release, particularly for snook, but pretty much for most species. Only take what you are going to eat, and a lot of fish are better off as sportfish, even if they are in season. Our motto is let ‘em get bigger and catch ‘em again!
Please click calendar at upper right or call 239-472-8658 to book a charter.
Whether you’re a longtime customer who has fished with us for many years or a first-time customer, expert fisherman or just a family with young children out to catch fish and have fun, you are going to enjoy being out in the boat with Hank and me! We greatly appreciate your friendship and business!
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Fair winds and following seas,
Captain Joey Burnsed ~ please click calendar at the upper left or call 239-472-8658 to book a Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Boca Grande or Fort Myers fishing guide trip or shelling charter.