To the Editor:
The PTTS will never understand how we feel. The people who plunder for gain will never understand those who grew up loving it and striving to protect it. They will never understand what it feels like to be a little girl catching her first tarpon with her daddy, nor the joy that it brought to her daddy’s face. They will never understand the men who come from generations of fishermen who have captained these waters and provided for their families giving thousands of people the thrill of their lives, fighting the great silver king. They will never understand the quiet pride these men have for the Pass and for each other. They will never understand how considerate, protective or passionate these captains are, because they have done nothing but come into the area with a complete disregard for it’s history. They cannot understand the look in their father’s eyes when he realizes the truth of it’s deterioration. They will never understand being from a place where once you have left it, it lives in your heart forever. They will never understand the sense of community or family, nor our fierce desire to protect it. And so we keep fighting until we conserve and protect our heritage. Period.
Susanne Darna Dudley
Tallahassee (formerly of Boca Grande)
Dear Brenda Barton of “The Villages?”
I too am a wife and mother of fishing guides, third and fourth generation Boca Grande guides to be precise. I have supported this island’s businesses and it’s community for 40 years. Unfortunately, you can say all you want, my dear, but it doesn’t make what you say true.
Uncalled for attack? Excuse me, but we have let your offspring take over a 100-year-old fishery and decimate it of its large breeding female tarpon.
Revenue dollars??? That is a stretch.
There are extreme measures taken in the handling of the tarpon while gaffing, dragging, weighing and lifting them out of the water for a photo op. I agree, that is extreme.
Respectfully handling the (bumper) boats? What Pass are you in? The pounding of the tarpon by these boats as soon as they rise to take air into their rudimentary lung is nothing short of an assault.
I cannot go any further. Your letter is an insult to my intelligence.
Kathy Y. Futch
From its inception, the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) has been conducted in a sporting manner with an emphasis on promoting conservation and the sport of tarpon fishing in Boca Grande. I would like to tell you about our history of conservation efforts and share some facts about ongoing and future efforts to protect the fishery that we all respect and depend upon.
Firstly, the PTTS has worked closely with biologists from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commissions, Fish & Wildlife Research Institute to make sure we all benefit from the best science available and help to manage the fishery. In 2005, the PTTS served as the pilot study for the FWC’s current tarpon DNA tagging program. Since then, our organization and our anglers have provided nearly 1,000 tarpon DNA samples to the FWC to further their research.
More recently, at the request of FWC biologists, we allowed FWC tarpon researchers to take possession of tarpon that had been weighed during our 2010 PTTS & WPTTS events, so they could take blood samples and perform other tests that they were not normally able to perform as easily, and cost effectively, as they could at our events. The purpose of the tarpon physiology study was to evaluate the effects of fight time, handling and the environment on the stress responses of tarpon measured using changes in blood chemistry. This study is ongoing.
BY MARCY SHORTUSE AND LIZA STROUT - When the Boca Beacon and representatives from the Sun-Herald got together last week, it was to discuss a delicate issue: Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande Pass, and if there is a way to come to a compromise.
This year has been a more controversial year than most. It has stirred up a 20-plus-year argument between catch-and-release, live-bait anglers who use traditional fishing methods, and those who believe that aggressive tournament fishing tactics are not altering the number and behavior of tarpon in the Pass.
BY LIZA STROUT - It was a bittersweet moment for Effie Joiner when the 2012 BoMo Tournament came to a close at noon on Sunday, July 8. She’d been fishing the tournament for many years, and because she is 15 this year would be her last.
Still, a first-place win made the moment a bit sweeter.
BY LIZA STROUT - Rainy season is here, and along with it are mosquitoes ... and the way this year looks, we’re on track to experience one of the worst years for mosquitos in recent memory.
The Lee County Mosquito Control District is hard at work, doing multiple flights each day and night to reduce the numbers of adult mosquitos and to prevent larvae from developing into the adults that can spread disease.
BY CAPT. TOM McLAUGHLIN - There is some truth behind the talk that the Save the Tarpon movement is simply a turf war. Which side of the pro-jig/anti-jig movement you fall on has some correlation with where your turf is. A vast majority of the jig guides and PTTS participants come to town for the months of May and June, and once the tarpon head offshore to spawn, that same majority return home to either continue fishing in their home waters or pursue other occupations. They have very little tie to the local community during the rest of the year.
The notion that the fight over Boca Grande Pass tarpon fishing is about a group of traditional Pass fishing guides wanting to stop all others from fishing in their “private fishing hole” is the battle cry of most who oppose the Save The Tarpon movement. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a turf war, but not in the way so frequently described by participants of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series and board members of the Florida Guides Association.
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