Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas, triumphed in the 2012 tarpon season by winning the grand champion award at the prestigious Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament, held June 18-22 in Islamorada.

Fishing with Captain Rick Murphy of Homestead, Fla., Ward posted two weight fish and nine releases for the win. He also took the tournament’s title for the most releases.

Thane Morgan of Amarillo, Texas, scored three releases and two weight fish to land in second place. Guided by Captain Craig Brewer, the veteran Morgan was grand champion in 2010.

Carlos Duncan of Houston, Texas, took third place. He also posted three releases and two weight fish, but was edged out by Morgan on points.

Tarpon are caught on fly using 16-pound tippet, and scoring is based on points awarded for either release or weight fish. Release fish must measure at least 48 inches long and weight fish must be a minimum of 70 pounds.

A full field of 25 anglers released 36 tarpon and caught eight weight fish.

The 50th annual Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament is set for June 17-21, 2013.

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