By all accounts, the return this past weekend of the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament was a huge success, and the tournament is being lauded for emphasizing education and conservation as much as fishing. Thanks to all who supported the WRTT and many thanks to all the fans who visited the Guy Harvey Mobile Express over the weekend.
At the same time, another tarpon tournament that was held in the same location over the weekend is drawing the ire of many conservation-oriented fishermen, including well-known author and nearby resident Randy Wayne White. The Professional Tarpon Tournament Series allows the practice of “snag fishing” or “jig fishing”, a practice that many anglers and conservationists consider unsportsmanlike and unethical (by comparsion, the WRTT required participants to fish with live bait, and the tournament’s format was “catch and release” only).
White says the PTTS “encourages” snag fishing and as a show of his disapproval his restaurant, Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, will no longer sponsor the tournament. PTTS Vice President Joe Mercurio, however, defended the tournament, saying anglers in the PTTS use circle hooks to catch tarpon, a method that does not allow for snag fishing. He also noted that the PTTS works closely with Florida Fish and Wildlife and Mote Marine as part of the tournaments efforts toward conservation.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK: Is snag fishing acceptable, or does this practice violate the spirit and ethics of tournament fishing?