To the Editor:
This message is to “Professional” Tarpon Tournament Series, Ms. Sheli Sanders, Mr. Joe Mercurio, PTTS Sponsors and participating anglers
This is to inform you that neither I nor the Doc Ford Restaurants will participate as sponsors in any fishing tournament that allows snag-fishing (‘jig fishing’ is the common euphemism) for tarpon or other game fish. Snag-fishing has, justifiably, been banned to protect numerous game fish world wide, and I am, frankly, mystified why the tarpon (among Florida’s most valuable natural resources) has not been granted the same protection by governing state bodies.
As a former Sanibel Island fishing guide, I do not hold participating captains in any way accountable for using whatever means allowable to bring a tarpon to the boat. Their job is to catch fish. If tournament rules allow the use of snag-fishing techniques, a working professional is necessarily obligated to give his clients an equal chance. I also understand that snag-fishing is a boon to film makers and TV producers because snag-fishing all but guarantees that tarpon will be landed. As reprehensible as the technique is, it does provide the sort action demanded by producers of the Jerry Springer ilk.
However, sponsoring such an event is a very different matter. Sponsorship tacitly endorses snag-fishing, and snag-fishing is contrary to every historic ethic associated with sport fishing - a fact I hope to communicate unequivocally to other sponsors. It is too late to pull our ads this year, but we urge all sponsors to join us by withdrawing from future tournaments and/or video productions that promote snag-fishing by turning a blind eye, by using silly euphemisms (‘jig-fishing’), by failing to ban this most “unprofessional” of techniques.
Randy Wayne Whitedocford.comSanibel
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