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CB’s Saltwater Outfitters produces 2 prestigious fishing contest victors

By Jane Bartnett

“I may have to create a wall of honor here at the store,” said a proud Aledia Tush as she spoke about the fishing accomplishments of her two award-winning CB’s Saltwater Outfitters employees. “I’m so proud of them.”
Doug Forde and Tabby Tellbuescher took home First Place Overall and top Junior Division honors, respectively, at the 93rd annual Sarasota Tarpon Tournament held this summer. The world’s oldest tarpon tournament, it began in mid-May and ended on June 24. A gala celebration was held on July 24.
A celebrated world-class angler, Tush, co-owner of the landmark Siesta Key business, has also won this tournament along with many others.
Forde, who is CB’s general manager, competed in the Fly Division and won the top award. The 15-year-old Tellbuescher, a summer staffer, is the Junior Division champion.

Tabby Tellbuescher and Doug Forde with their trophies. (submitted photo)

Both Tush proteges credit their boss for introducing them to the world of tarpon competition. “I’ve been fishing this tournament since Aledia got me into it in ’96,” Forde said.
The tournament carries extensive rules for conduct, reporting, as well as mandatory polygraph tests. Boundaries for this year’s tournament spanned from the northern tip of Anna Maria Island to the southern side of Stump Pass in Englewood.
Looking back on the fish that secured his win, Forde recalled hooking the tarpon at 11:57 a.m. on June 24. It was the final day and minutes before the noon deadline.
“I was just south of the public Siesta Beach, just outside the swim buoy,” he said. “The fish jumped about eight times and people on the beach were hooting and hollering. The spotter verified the size.”
It measured 29 inches in girth.
“After I allowed the fish to rest and recover, it swam away,” Forde added. “What a day.”
The Sarasota native would fall under the spell of the fish called the Silver King. After fishing in fresh water since he was 4 years old, his first tarpon outing took place in the waters off Crescent Beach. And he was hooked.
“Fishing has always been my thing,” he said.

Forde pulls in his winning tarpon. *submitted photo)

As a member of the CB’s team, he gets the chance to live the sport every day. Forde joined the business after college when a baseball injury derailed his plans for playing in the Major Leagues. “I was drafted by the Seattle Mariners out of high school and, while in college, the Chicago Cubs,” he said.
Surgery ended his days on the diamond, but he found his place and calling on the waters off Siesta Key.
Meanwhile, when CB’s junior champion headed back to school last month as a sophomore at St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in Bradenton, she had a really big fish tale to tell her friends. Recalling her epic battle that secured her junior tarpon title, Tellbuescher smiled thinking of that night. It all started as the sun was setting.
“I hooked it off the coast of Siesta Key near Point of Rocks and it dragged me a couple of miles off shore,” she said.
Her dad, Curt, was also on board the boat along with a neighbor. After a two-hour-and-15-minute battle, at 10 p.m. the mighty young fisherwoman got the tarpon to the boat. It was measured at 37 inches in girth and was photographed. After allowing the fish to rest, as required by law, she bid her trophy goodbye.

Tellbuescher on the waters, waiting for a strike. (submitted photo)

Beaming with pride, the teen reported “I entered the junior tournament last year, but this was the year that I caught the big fish and won. Aledia really encouraged me. I’d been wanting to get a big fish all season.”
Heading out on the water to fish with her father has been a part of the teen’s life since she was a young girl. “I love going fishing with my dad. Last year I got a little tarpon. This year, my first big fish,” Tellbuescher said.
For those planning on tarpon fishing next spring in May, June and July, when tarpon is found in the Siesta Key region, Forde has some advice: “Find a good fishing captain who fishes for tarpon regularly and knows the waters,” he said. “You have to know what you’re doing. It’s very important to observe correct boating and fishing etiquette.”
Proper boating is vital, he cautioned.
“Tarpon are very sensitive to the boats. Driving recklessly at fast speeds disturbs and spooks them. They travel in schools, and they’ll leave,” he said.
Forde also noted the importance of understanding state regulations that pertain to these world-class game fish. Tarpon are a catch-and-release-only species and regulated by the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission.
To learn more about to learn more about tarpon fishing, contact CB’s at For more information on the Sarasota Tarpon Tournament, visit:

Tellbuescher shares a laugh with co-worker Forde as she describes the size of the winning fish she landed in the Sarasota Tarpon Tournament. (photo by Jane Bartnett)
Jane Bartnett
Author: Jane Bartnett

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