To the Editor:
Noted author Randy Wayne White's article that appeared in last Friday's Boca Beacon was a fantastic message that all tarpon enthusiasts and conservationists should read.
Sadly, there were many tarpon-fishing clients, their families, local guides, island residents and others who did not get a chance to view Mr. White's statement, as the various locations on the island that have Boca Beacon storage racks available with normally plenty of papers all seemed to be interestingly empty.
The Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association (BGFGA) has suggested to the Boca Beacon that Mr. White's article be presented again in the May 25 edition of the paper so all interested supporters of saving the Boca Grande tarpon habitat can view it.
Thank you to the Boca Beacon for acknowledging the association's request.
Capt. Cappy Joiner, Pres.For the MembershipBoca Grande Fishing Guides Association
Here is Mr. White’s letter from last week’s edition:
This message is to “Professional” Tarpon Tournament Series, Ms. Sheli Sanders, Mr. Joe Mercurio, PTTS Sponsors and participating anglersSirs:
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 of 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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