18 Mirage HPX Consistent Through 2012 Tarpon Tournaments
A full field of 25 tarpon-fly addicts faced five days of terrible weather in the 49th Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. A slow moving low pressure system, that later became Tropical Storm Debby, lashed out with rain, high winds and nearly complete cloud cover making this Gold Cup one of the toughest ever. Somehow, the top three spots in the Cup all were awarded to anglers from Texas.
Steve Ward of Coppell, TX put on a tarpon clinic despite the adversity. Guided by Capt. Rick Murphy, Ward captured 9 releases and 2 weight fish of 72.4 pounds and 84 pounds. They made runs totaling over 100 miles each day in a Mirage 18 HPX powered by a Yamaha 150 Four-Stroke.
While going 11 for 17 on silver king bites, Grand Champion Steve Ward used Tibor reels and one piece G. Loomis Crosscurrent rods, with Scientific Anglers Mastery floating line or the Lee Wulff triangle taper monocore intermediate, depending on the depths fished. Fly selection was basic, either purple or purple and black tied on Sufix 80 pound Invisiline for shock tippets.
Second place went to Thane Morgan of Amarillo with Capt. Craig Brewer owner of a 17 Mirage. Morgan landed 2 weights and 3 releases. Third Place angler Carlos Duncan from Houston (also an owner of a 17 Mirage) was poled by Capt. Rob Fordyce. This formidable team, who won the Hawley this year with 16 tarpon, carded 2 weights and 3 releases. Julian Robertson of New Zealand and Capt. Joe Rodriguez conquered a 119 pounder to take the prestigious Largest Tarpon Award.
The entire 2012 tarpon tournament season has been plagued with far less than ideal, and at times nearly unfishable conditions. Steve Ward remained consistent (with Capt. Rick Murphy) finishing 2nd at the Golden Fly, Runner-Up in the Hawley and then the huge win at the grand finale, the Gold Cup.