A Fish Tale: Team embodies tournament spirit

Isai Cantu, Wayne Soprych and Robb Hyland onboard Soprych’s boat “Last Dance” at Long Island Village. Photo by Ray Quiroga.


They may not have the biggest boat, the most advanced onboard technology, nor do the claim to be the best fishermen in the game, but in their own way, the three-man fishing team of Wayne Soprych, Robb Hyland and Isai Cantu embody the spirit of the Texas International Fishing Tournament (TIFT) which wrapped up it’s 81st edition on Sunday. 

The unlikely team of two retired Midwestern transplants who reside in Long Island Village, and a younger Valleyite in Cantu, all who met and befriended each other at the Village, are out to not only compete in the famed tourney, but also to bond and have a good time.

Soprych named his 21’ boat, “Last Dance,” which should tell readers all they need to know. 

“I’m an old guy so my boat is called, “Last Dance”.

 In 2019, the last time TIFT was held, the boat Soprych was on won the Calcutta for Wahoo. 

“We were using my rod, and my reels, and my spots,” he said. “We have a lot of years of experience fishing out on the gulf”, he added.

Now at 75-years of age, Soprych said he began fishing when he was five in the fresh waters of the Midwest. “Back before they had reels,” quipped Hyland. “Yes, back when 25 horsepower was a lot,” Soprych added.

When asked to identify the key to success out on the gulf, Soprych said, “The key to success is to have fun and go try. Don’t give up.” 

All jesting aside, Soprych admitted that the technological advancements are all well and good, but that few things beat experience and a little luck. 

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