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By Bill Sargent

Tarpon tournament big challenge on fly tackle
Mike Badarak - Space Coast Fly Fishing Charters

Mike Badarack – Space Coast Fly Fishing Charters

Mike Badarack, a Satellite Beach light-tackle fishing guide with a keen appreciation for fly fishing, is in his second year of building a plan to make Brevard County the home for a recognized all-release fly fishing tournament known as the Chase for the Chalice. The target species is tarpon, one of the hardest sportfish to land on fly tackle.

“At first, I wanted to put together a day of fishing just for tarpon and just for fly fishermen so they could come together, have a good time without being pressed, release all their fish and then end the day with a dinner and few awards at a local restaurant,” Badarack said.

“Then I saw how successful the Gold Cup has been for years in the Florida Keys. It attracts all the right kind of anglers, it has the ethics, a lot of camaraderie, and it’s the premier tournament.

“Why not start a similar tournament here in Brevard?” Badarack thought.

The Gold Cup is a fly fishing tournament for tarpon with 25 teams held at Islamorada each June. The four-day event is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, making it one of the oldest tarpon tournaments in the country. Teams pay a $2,000 entry fee and the winners’ names go on a perpetual gold cup.

Badarack, 40, shared the idea with friends and several agreed to help, among them Wil Miller of Your Logo/Geiger, who gave a 30-inch tall $1,000 silver cup for a perpetual trophy, which in this case would be called the chalice. Brittney Novalsky of Florida Sportswoman agreed to create a website and Richard Goode, owner of Harry Goode’s Outdoor Shop in Melbourne, also assisted.

“I wrote the Chase rules around the Gold Cup’s rules and mirrored much of its format,” Badarack explained. “For starters, I hoped to get 20 teams.”

Unfortunately, last year’s Chase was on July 11, a day with high winds and choppy seas, hardly compatible conditions for fly fishing. Only nine teams competed.

“But it was a start and we still felt it was a successful first year,” said Badarack, sounding like the eternal optimist. “Word of the tournament got out, it received support from the community and it formed a foundation sound enough to continue.”

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