Daily DrakeGoldCuptrophy

Facing ripping winds and tarpon of the hard to find variety, podium experience proved to be the key ingredient for top anglers grinding it out at the 54th Annual Invitational Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament in Islamorada, Florida, with the three winning teams having all been past Grand Champions.

Thane Morgan, from Amarillo, Texas, won the Grand Championship title for the third time, with a total of 2,665 points. Morgan opened the event with two scoring poons, weighing 78 and 87.4 pounds respectively. On day four his 101.1 pounder sealed the deal. For Morgan’s guide, Capt. Dustin Huff, the 2017 event marks his second win from the poling platform since 2014. Huff’s dad, Capt. Steve Huff, won the event on three separate occasions in the ’80s. Morgan also helped put another father/son name on the trophy in 2010, winning with guide Craig Brewer, whose father Jim took top honors in 1974.

GoldCuptrophyFirst runner up Julian Robertson, from New York City, and his guide Capt. Joe Rodriguez earned 2,556 points. They released the second largest “Weight Fish” at 130.9 pounds. The duo proved their team talent as Grand Champions in 2016. Second runner up Steve Ward, from Coppell, Texas, and his guide Capt. Doug Kilpatrick were close behind with 2,332 points. Ward also has his name on the coveted trophy as the 2012 Grand Champion.

Angler Mark Richens and Capt. Jared Raskob caught the largest tarpon, 135.3 pounds.

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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