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Thread: Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament

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    Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament

    Supports Bonefish & Tarpon Trust's tarpon tagging program. Therefore, we support it.

    Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament

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    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2016
    Thanks for your support!


    Dr. Jerald S. Ault is the Professor and Chairman of the Department of Marine Ecosystems with the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science. In addition to his long and impressive title, I have learned many things about him in the seven years I?ve had the pleasure of knowing him. He likes Neil Young. He delivers an excellent slide show presentation. But most of all, he has a passion for Tarpon. The second year of the Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament was 2011. Back then we had the Tournament in McClellanville, SC. I had rented a house on the Waterway and offered Dr. Ault a place to stay when he came up that year for the Tournament as our guest speaker. I remember speaking with him that year about a baby Tarpon that I had caught in a cast net around a trunk-dock that empties from an impoundment into the Santee River. At first I could tell he was a bit skeptical about the claim. I told him that the Tarpon I netted was about 3-4 inches long. As a life-long fisherman, and as a Biology major, I was totally convinced that it was a Tarpon. The next year that he came up for the Tournament I mentioned it to him again. I realized then that he must have heard this from others as he replied, ?why don?t you guys send me some photographs of these juveniles.? Even though I had gone back to the same spot I had never been able to net another one for photographic proof. Apparently others had made the same observation and also reported it to Dr. Ault.

    In 2014 I fished the Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament with my good friend Vern Stull. Since there were only two in the boat we had room for another. We had the pleasure of taking a BTT representative, JoEllen Wilson. As BTT's Juvenile Tarpon Habitat Program Manager, JoEllen is in charge of all things related to juvenile tarpon research. That morning in 2014 we made our way to the ?Muddy Bay? just as the sun was beginning to rise. It was a morning to remember, the Bay was profusely full of Menhaden and Finger Mullet. As daylight rolled in, so did the Tarpon, too many to count. As a fisherman it was frustrating, having so many bait fish around us that our couple of pogies could not compete with nature?s bounty for the Tarpon?s attention. Even though we couldn?t put one on the hook, we definitely showed her something she may not have expected. I will have to admit; it was the most abundance of Tarpon that I had ever seen in my 50 years of fishing in South Carolina.

    The Bonefish and Tarpon Trust has since launched its juvenile tarpon habitat work in South Carolina beginning in 2015 at the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center. The purpose of the research is to gain a better understanding of juvenile tarpon habitat and what that means for the Tarpon fishery in South Carolina and nearby coastal waters. At the end of this preliminary project, they hope to be able to determine if the juveniles are able to survive the cold winters in South Carolina. Following that it will dictate what future projects may be needed in our area. Hopefully, we can use the information to strengthen the Tarpon habitat here in SC if it is shown that we are indeed a breeding ground. Our proceeds from the 2016 Lowcountry Tarpon Tournament will help promote the ongoing research in our area. To date the Tournament has donated over $40,000 to the BTT. We hope you will join us in our conservation efforts.

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