Capt. Sandy Melvin likes to talk smack with his fellow fishing guides and he's earned the right to dish it out after years of tight-lined success.
He didn't have much to say after being shut out of the money in the return of the World's Richest Tarpon Tournament. But he got his voice back after leading Team Gasparilla Outfitters on the "Boca Blue" to the second annual Gasparilla Island Kids Classic title with two releases.
In claiming the Ed and Judy Davis Memorial Award, Melvin said he was most proud of how quickly the young anglers released hooked tarpon.
Country singer Colton James, left, shares the stage Saturday with Capt. Sandy Melvin.
"An average of four minutes," Melvin said from the stage during Saturday night's award ceremonies. "That's taking care of the tarpon. They'll be ready to be caught again tomorrow."
The theme for the Tarpon festival weekend, which also featured the return of the World's Richest Tarpon tournament and the 22nd annual Ladies Day Tarpon Tournament, was education and protection of the tarpon fishery.
The day was hot with temps stretching into the 90s and fishing was thin for the Kids Classic. But the evening ripened into a cool time for the more than 300 onlookers at the awards ceremony featuring songs by country artist Colton James, whose "Save it For the Kids" fishery preservation anthem the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation has adopted as the theme song.
Second place went to Team Cradle with Capt. Waylon Mills on the "Blaze," which also had two releases. ??
Team Key Agency Insurance with Capt. Lamar Joiner Sr. on the "Miss Sarah" took third place with the last fish released.
Autumn Shaffer on the "Tracy Lynn" with Capt. Willie Mills was the first girl to catch and release a tarpon.
Willie Waterhouse on the "Boca Blue" with Capt. Melvin was the first boy to release a tarpon. ??
The Kids Classic raised $30,000 for Moffitt Cancer Center's Families First program with the aid of $4,000 in late donations, including Melvin's $1,000 title purse.