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50th Annual Don Hawley Tarpon Fly Tournament

June 3 @ 8:00 AM - June 7 @ 5:00 PM


Don Hawley Tarpon Fly Tournament

The Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament was organized by Dick Pope, Jr. in 1975 to honor the great Don Hawley, who passed away in 1974. In 1987, the format of the Tournament was changed to catch and release only. Today, the Tournament continues to attract some of the best fly anglers from around the world, all of whom are competitive, conservative-minded and passionate about catching the silver king.During the competition, each angler and guide team receives 1,000 points for each tarpon measuring at least four feet in length that is caught and released pursuant to Tournament rules. These rules require teams to, among other things, use 12-lb tippet and abide by all International Game Fish Association rules.The title of Grand Champion is awarded to the angler and guide team with the most points accumulated over the five-day competition. In addition to other awards, the Grand Champions’ names are placed on the Perpetual Trophy, which includes the names of all past champion anglers and guides. The Perpetual Trophy resides at Florida Keys Outfitters in Islamorada, Florida.Importantly, the five-day event allows GTF ample opportunity to promote its programs and initiatives directly to and among the various Tournament participants, including anglers, guides, sponsors, vendors and guests, many of whom are donors or potential donors to and / or beneficiaries or potential beneficiaries of such programs and initiatives.

Click Here to be added to the Tournament waiting list.TERRITORY, START AND TIME LIMIT

  1. a. OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS: Lorelei, Islamorada
    b. Anglers must sign starting ledger at headquarters each morning.
    c. Failure to sign in before departure is a 150 point penalty. Failure to sign and turn in score sheet by 5:00 P.M. daily will result in a 150 point penalty. Departure will be staggered by teams with one team leaving at 5:45 A.M. and remaining teams leaving in two-minute intervals thereafter, beginning at 6:00 A.M. All boats must depart from and return to Tournament Headquarters. No trailering to different launch sites is permitted.
    d. Anglers cannot leave headquarters earlier than 5:45 A.M.
    e. Clock at headquarters will be official time piece for departure and stopping time each day.
    f. Any boat without properly functioning running lights will be prohibited from leaving the dock until 6:30 A.M.
  2. Fishing may begin immediately. 6/01
  3. Fishing will end at 3:00 P.M., i.e., lines out at 3:00 P.M. EXCEPTIONS: A fish hooked before 3:00 P.M. will be accepted regardless of time required to release the fish.
  4. All anglers must report back to headquarters by 5:00 P.M. Signed score sheets must be turned in by 5:00 P.M. daily. The Anglers Tournament Committee will waive this rule in case of breakdown or unusual circumstance.



  1. Only one-handed rods and single-action reels designed specifically for fly casting will be eligible. The butt may not extend
    more than four inches below the reel seat. The rod may not be altered after a fish is hooked.
  2. The leaders shall not exceed 15 feet. It shall contain not less than 15 inches of Tournament approved tippet material. The shock tippet, consisting of nonmetallic or metallic material and an overall length not exceeding 12 inches including knots, must be tied directly to approved tippet.
  3. Lures must be single hook construction only and the hook must not exceed 2.75 inches overall.



  1. Only fly casting will be permitted. Only artificial lures may be used. Tippet will be 12-pound manufacturer’s stated test, furnished at no charge.
  2. Angler, unaided, must cast, set the hook, fight and bring the fish to where the leader can be taken. Any other person touching the reel, rod or line will disqualify entry. At no time during the Tournament can a guide cast or retrieve. An accidental touch to the fly line, in an attempt to touch the leader, does not disqualify a release.
  3. Shooting or harpooning, lancing or handling a fish will disqualify the entry.
  4. TROLLING IS NOT PERMITTED. No fly can be stripped out or fed out into a current, i.e., fly must be stripped in only.
  5. ELECTRONIC FISH FINDERS ARE NOT ALLOWED. If a boat has one, it must be turned off. Depth finders are not considered fish finders in this Tournament.
  6. No Angler or Guide may scout for fish using aircraft.
  7. All entries must be approved by Tournament Committee.
  8. Anglers Tournament Committee reserves the right to inspect tackle and test line at any time. Committee’s decision is final.
  9. Each angler must be accompanied by a skiff or backcountry fishing guide, known as a guide for hire, licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  10. Anglers Meeting attendance is mandatory. Both Angler and Guide may vote but must be present to vote.



  1. Motors must be disengaged at time of release.
  2. At the discretion of the guide, motors may be used to fight a fish.
  3. At the discretion of the guide, motors may be used to return to position after fighting a fish.
  4. Motors cannot be used to intercept fish before casting.
  5. Electric motors may not be used at any time for any purpose.
  6. Traditional courtesy on the water and gentlemanly conduct should be observed at all times.
  7. A release occurs only when the guide grabs the line below the knot connecting the fly line to the butt section.
  8. Sportsmanship will be the key to making a decision not covered by the rules.

12-pound tippet – 1,000 points • You must use the current year tippet material supplied by tournament

In case of disagreements, the Anglers Tournament Committee decision will be final. All complaints must be submitted in writing by 5:00 P.M. to the Anglers Tournament Committee on the day of the complaint.

Thank you for your interest in the Don Hawley Tarpon Fly Tournament. This year’s event is currently full.  Upon filling out the below referenced application, you will be added to the waiting list.

Click Here to be added to the Tournament waiting list.

If you are participating in the 50th Annual Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament, then payment of your entry fee can be made by check or card, as follows:

To Pay by Check: Please make your check payable to “DHTT, LLC” and mail to:

P.O. Box 88
Islamorada, FL 33036

To Pay by Debit or Credit Card: Please click on the “PayPal” button below.

Donate button to come.


To make a meaningful difference in the lives of Florida Keys inshore fishing guides, the fishery in which they operate, and the communities in which they live.


Provide Financial Assistance in Times of Hardship.. Grant requests typically arise following a serious sickness or injury that prevents an individual guide from working for prolonged periods.  Once submitted, grant applications are reviewed by GTF in consultation with the applicable local guides association.
Mobilize our Network for Emergency Fundraising Initiatives. Through our network of generous donors, committed trustees and extensive sportfishing industry contacts, GTF moves rapidly to generate additional financial assistance in the wake of catastrophic events. In recent years, these events have included Hurricane Irma and the Covid-19 pandemic, each of which resulted in widespread hardship among the guide community.
Support Conservation Efforts Deemed Critical to the Future of the Florida Keys Inshore Fishery. By listening to and aligning with the Florida Keys guide community, we aim to identify and support those conservation efforts that will most positively impact the fragile ecosystem that makes up the inshore fishery of the Florida Keys and Everglades National Park. Specifically, this is demonstrated by our ongoing support of the excellent work carried out by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.
Invest in the Future Work Force of the Florida Keys through Education. This effort includes the funding of college scholarships for Florida Keys based students who are pursuing degrees in the marine sciences or otherwise engaged in fields of study that will provide them with the knowledge and skills needed to serve their communities in a manner that furthers GTF’s vision / mission.


June 3 @ 8:00 AM
June 7 @ 5:00 PM
Event Category:


Guides Trust Foundation
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