Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Save The Tarpon

Stewards of the Boca Grande Tarpon Fishery and proponents of ethical angling

The Save the Tarpon campaign and SaveTheTarpon.com were created through the collaboration and cooperation of those who advocate for ethical angling and promote the stewardship of the Boca Grande Pass Tarpon fishery. We believe in the use of responsible and environmentally sensitive fishing techniques to protect this historically and culturally significant fishery

Protect & preserve the Tarpon and their habitat. Sign The Petition Here

We strongly oppose, and call for the immediate termination of, the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) in Boca Grande, Florida. Our opposition stems from the destructive, unethical fishing practices and unsportsmanlike conduct promoted by this for-profit fishing tournament and television show. The disruptive fishing methods endorsed by the PTTS and employed by it’s participants are causing the Tarpon to change their movement, feeding, and spawning behaviors. Behaviors which had, until now, been unchanged for thousands of years. The change in these patterns has already deteriorated the quality of the fishery.

We will work tirelessly to bring awareness to this important cause and to fight for the preservation and future health of the Boca Grande Pass Tarpon fishery.

Help us end the unnecessary destruction of this precious resource by a for-profit private entity. Join us and say “no” to the PTTS, it’s sponsors, affiliates and participants.

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Gary Colecchio said...

Who is Save the Tarpon?

It was started by Rick Hirsh who lives in New York and vacations in Florida.


He fishes exclusively and is connected with the Boca Grande
Fishing Guides Association members. This group of “traditional live bait ” guides has been fighting for 15 years for exclusive use of the pass using a listed set of rules published in the local press and Chamber of Commerce.

Their goal is to rid the pass of “off island ” guides. Their strategy has been if they can ban the use of artificial baits (jigs), the outsiders would leave. Of course this PTTS tournament is now a target because it shows that recreational fishermen need not employ local guides and successfully catch fish themselves.

BGFGA has demanded Florida Fish and Wildlife study the snagging issue , at taxpayers expense and rejected the finding when it did not substantiate their claims. They have since sued the state, as well as make other outrageous claims such as outboard motors ( employed by jig guides and recreational fisherman, vs their traditional inboards) scare the fish and change their migratory habits.

This issue is not one of concern for the health of the tarpon fishery, all science points to a healthy fishery, but an economic one and a turf war engaged in and accelerated in the last decade.

This new Save the Tarpon campaign is the latest weapon employed by the BGFGA, who populate it in their campaign for exclusive economic access to the fishery , although not all that well masked: http://forums.floridasportsman.com/showthread.php?60304-Observations-on-the-PTTS-protest-over-the-past-few-days

As a light tackle tarpon fisherman and guide, I have no interest in either method of fishing the pass , preferring shallow water sight fishing , so I have interest in either side. But to those who have been following this travesty of allegations, accusations, innuendo, bad science and bad blood, this is simply another chapter and another tactic of BGFGA to ultimately regain ownership of a fishery they believe they have the right of sole ownership of.

- Captain Gary Colecchio

Troutdawg said...


Thank you for your post and information about the BGFGA and the PTTS. I am like others who are eager to see some radical changes tale place in the Boca Grande area and after spending much time there Tarpon fishing, I can not stand what is going on there as well and am solely interested in protecting the Tarpon fishery that makes not only this area one of the best to fish, but also a healthy habitat for many years to come as well. There are two sides to this story and I just hope most fisherman get all of the facts, like you said before making a decision on which side to take. Thanks again for your post!

Anonymous said...

Gary Colecchio is a internet troll trying to spam any post related to the Save the Tarpon movement. His opinions are just that--opinions--and not based on fact. He has been banned from both the Save the Tarpon website and Facebook page because of his inappropriate comments and personal attacks on the members of the Save the Tarpon campaign.

Gary Colecchio does not fish in Boca Grande, live near Boca Grande or even professionally guide as he claims. Know your sources!

Anonymous said...

Gary Colecchio is a Florida transplant that resides out of Bonita Springs and has a grudge against the BGFGA. He has tried to discredit the BGFGA for years. He claims to be a guide, but would be lucky to run 5 charters a year. He knows very little about fishing Boca Grande pass. As he has stated, he doesn't even fish the area. He is sticking his nose in something it doesn't belong. All because he has a personal grudge against the BGFGA and some of it's members.