BOCA GRANDE, Fla. Despite difficult conditions, Capt. Ozzie Fischer made a huge climb in the Miller High Life Professional Tarpon Tournament Series presented by Century Boats.
In the final event of its five-week regular series this past weekend in Boca Grande Pass, Fla., Fischer and Team Yamaha F350/Century of Fort Myers, Fla., weighed in a large female Tarpon that tipped the Tires Plus scale at 180 pounds, securing victory in Week No. 5 while also securing second place in the Yamaha Team of the Year Race.
At the start of the event, many of the teams were concerned that there would be very few fish remaining in the pass, with some upset the event was even going to take place.
At the end of the three hours of lines in, 26 fish were landed, with eight being brought to the Miller's Ale House Weighboat. A slow day in PTTS fishing terms, but action was constant, despite fewer fish than normal being present. A strong outgoing tide, West winds in excess of 20 mph and rough seas contributed to the lack of fish and slow action.
"We knew it was going to be tough fishing." Fischer said. "We made a game plan after the Week 4 event, that we had to release as many fish as possible and weigh in a 150-pound fish or better if we wanted to try and take second in the Team of the Year Race."
Fischer is not accustomed to fishing for second place. An accomplished tournament angler who has won nearly every inshore fishing event in Southwest Florida, and the former FLW Kingfish Team of the Year, he knew that first in the Yamaha Team of the Year Race was all but impossible.
Going in to Week 5, Capt. Artie Price and Team Miller's Ale House had a commanding 654-point lead. Fischer and Yamaha F350/Century were sitting in 15th, only 150 points out of second, and ultimately closed the gap to edge out Capt. Doug Creek of Team Century/Miller Chill.
The drama continued during the event with less than one hour in regulation time Capt. Steve Dupper's Team Lake N Bay Boats, Sebring, Fla., hooked a fish as a squall was moving through Boca Grande.
"We got bit just as it started getting rough, and it was all we could do to land her," Dupper said.
Team Lake N Bay landed the fish 20 minutes into overtime, a 140-pounder that was enough to take second and propel them in to the Tarpon Cup Championship.
For the fourth time in seven years, Captain Artie Price and Team Miller's Ale House were crowned the PTTS Yamaha Team of the Year. With the victory, Team Miller's Ale House received a Yamaha Four Stroke V6 F250 outboard motor along with four limited edition diamond encrusted Reactor Watches, a prize package valued at $45,000.
For their second place effort, Team Yamaha F350/Century will be headed to the exclusive Crocodile Bay Lodge in Costa Rica, a trip valued at $12,000.
The top 25 teams based on points earned through the season will compete in the Tarpon Cup Championship this Sunday, June 14 from 7 a..m to noon. The teams are allowed to weigh in two Tarpon with the aggregate weight determining the winner and the 2009 Tarpon Cup Champion.
NOTE: Fans are encouraged to watch the PTTS Tarpon fishing action and weigh-in live at the beach in Gasparilla Island State Park in Boca Grande, Fla.
Top Five Week 5
1ST PLACE: Yamaha F350/Century, Capt. Ozzie Fischer, Tarpon Springs, Fla, 180 pounds
2ND PLACE: Lake N Bay Boats, Steve Dupper, Sebring, Fla, 140 pounds
3RD PLACE: Century/Miller Chill, Capt. Doug Creek, Punta Gorda, Fla, 125 pounds
4TH PLACE: Captiva Rod & Gun Club, Capt. Jimmy Burnsed, Captiva Island, Fla, 116 pounds
5TH PLACE: Hendrick Roofing, Capt.Jim Huddleston, Tarpon Springs, Fla, 115 pounds
Yamaha Team of the Year Top 5 standings (After Week 5)
Captain Name Team Name PTS
Price, Artie Miller's Ale House 1,904
Fischer, Ozzie Yamaha F350/Century 1,580
Creek, Doug Century/Miller Chill 1,380
Hagaman, Jeff Century/Odyssey Marine 1,250
Stewart, TJ MyELS.com/Castaway Charters 1,250
For more information and pictures please visit, www.TarponAnglersClub.com