BOCA GRANDE, Fla. — In a day of tarpon fishing that exceeded expectations,Team Culo Majado and Steve Kocsis topped out with the biggest surprise.
The Miller High Life Professional Tarpon Tournament Series presented by Century Boats held Week 1 of its five-week regular series events this past weekend in Boca Grande Pass, Fla.
A sold out field of 50 four-person teams competed in the three-hour event which awarded a new Century 2102 Inshore powered by a Yamaha F150 four-stroke motor and Continental Trailer for first prize.
Strong East winds and dirty water usually means less than ideal Tarpon fishing conditions in Boca Grande Pass, but conventional thinking was proven wrong. Twenty-one fish were leader released, with 13 fish making it to the Miller's Ale House weighboat.
Team Salt Rock Grille/Salt Life, led by Cody Chivas, weighed in the first fish of the year at 128 pounds. The 2008 Yamaha Team of the Year and winners of Week 1 in 2008 were hopeful the fish would hold up.
"I thought he was 135 pounds, and with the conditions, and the fish we had been seeing, I thought it may hold up," Chivas said.
Chivas' hopes were shattered when Team MGD 64, led by Captain George Greene, hooked a fish just after the halfway point.
"When he jumped, I knew it was a big one," Greene said.
He was proven right. When MGD 64's fish hit the Tires Plus scale, it weighed in at 155 pounds to take the lead. Shortly after, Artie Price's Team Miller's Ale House showed up to the scale with a big fish.
"I thought we had it," said Price, whose fish weighed in at 155 pounds as well.
By rule, MGD 64's fish held the lead based on the time that the fish was leadered. Adding more drama was Nick Winger's Team Angler Boats Corporation coming to the weighboat with a 154-pound fish.
MGD 64's hope for victory were shattered near the end of the tournament when Team Culo Majado, led by Steve Kocsis, came to the weigh in a fish that tipped the Tires Plus scale at 170 pounds. It was caught using a live crab.
"The fish fought hard," Kocsis said. "It took us in, around, and under the phosphate docks. It was crazy! No one in the tournament thought that big of fish would be caught because of the conditions."
The favor was almost returned to Team Culo Mojado, as Team Yamaha, led by Capt. Troy Sapp, hooked a fish just before the end of the tournament that took them into overtime. The Yamaha team was able to land the fish before the sudden death overtime ended, and it registered 167 pounds.
Team Culo Majado has been fishing the Miller High Life PTTS since its inception 7 years ago and has had four Top 5 finishes, but this is their first victory. With the win, Team Culo Majada took the lead in the Yamaha Team of the Year Race with 570 points.
Rounding out the rest of the Top Five was Team Yamaha, Team MGD 64, Team Miller's Ale House, and Team Angler Boat Corporation.
The Miller High Life PTTS presented by Century Boats is the largest and richest live-release tarpon tournament in the world, featuring five regular season events and one championship event all held in Boca Grande Pass, Fla.
Teams may weigh one fish daily and obtain points towards the Yamaha Team of the Year Race by weighing and releasing fish.
For more information and pictures please visit, www.TarponAnglersClub.com