It took a total of 29 minutes for this tarpon to be measured and released. And this is a calm day in Boca Grande Pass. Please read: savethetarpon.com/a-talk-with-capt-tom-mclaughlin/
On May 19, 2013, the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) held its season opening event in Boca Grande Pass. The PTTS, a made-for-TV tarpon tournament, is filmed over five weeks in a pre-spawn aggregate area, during the peak time of pre-spawn activity for North America’s only mass migration of spawning tarpon. Save the Tarpon was there to protest the event as well as document the new 'conservation-minded' handling techniques the PTTS adopted after our push to eliminate the "gaff, drag and weigh" segment of their TV reality show. (In 2012, DNA samples taken from several dead tarpon were linked back to fish caught in the tournament.)
The PTTS had been bragging all winter about the new weighing format which involves taking a length and girth measurement instead of the previous technique of weighing the fish in a giant sling on the beach. They refuse to move the tournament to a strictly catch-and-release format in which the winner would be selected by 'most-releases' rather than largest fish. Apparently, it just doesn't make for good TV.
In this video, which has been shortened for obvious reasons, Save the Tarpon protesters witnessed a tarpon being held on a 'clip-on gaff' for 29 minutes before it was finally released. Moments after its release, it went belly up in front of numerous individuals, including the production crew for the PTTS.
This is just one of aspect of our complaints with the PTTS. To understand more as to why we are calling for an end to the PTTS to protect the Boca Grande tarpon fishery, please visit savethetarpon.com.
Music by Xavier Rudd.