The parody Facebook page is called “Shave The Tarpon.” Its stated goal: “Working to make Boca Grande Pass a friendly place to fish.” We’re still waiting for the friendly part to show up.
In reality, it’s little more than an online Photoshop album. Although once you navigate beyond its anti-conservation, pro-gaff and drag rhetoric, it does have its moments. Or, perhaps, its moment.
Shave The Tarpon was apparently created as a platform for a one-trick gag photo. A picture taken from the water shows Save The Tarpon supporters on the beach standing next to the PTTS weigh boat. They were there as a result of a social media campaign that surpassed 1,000 members and continues to grow.
The image was Photoshopped to alter the messages on the signs that were being carried by those attending the rally. One Photoshopped placard bore a baffling and cryptic attempt to make religious intolerance funny. ROFLMAO.
That one aside, it was a pretty clever piece of work. But once the chuckles subsided, the author of the Facebook page obviously had a problem: What to do next? The answer: Quit while you’re ahead.
A joke can only be stretched so far before it ultimately blows up in your face. The next attempt, a copyright infringement featuring “Rocky the Flying Squirrelfish,” probably merited a few LOLs. But the creators of this one really shouldn’t give up their day jobs.
The rest of the page doesn’t, as they say, bring the funny. It doesn’t bring much of anything. Even Rocket J. Squirrel gets it. Once the cheap gags run dry, there really isn’t much that’s funny about what the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series is doing in Boca Grande Pass.
It’s tough to find funny in a photo of a tarpon with a gaff through its head. There aren’t many belly laughs in a picture of a dead and eyeless PTTS tarpon gutted to make it sink from view. And while a video of some poor soul pretending to revive a dead tarpon might be amusing in a ridiculous sort of way, it really isn’t. It’s actually pretty pathetic.
There isn’t much of a future in dead tarpon comedy. And it’s tough trying to parody a fishing tournament that’s already a parody of itself. Or the Daytona 500. It’s not likely Florida’s sportsmen are finding much in the way of side splitting humor knowing their money is going to subsidize a wasteful and unenforceable tarpon tag program that exists soley for the benefit of a low rent cable TV show.
The “Darth Baiter” idea worked as a play on the Star Wars character, but even the creators of this copyright infringement know Save The Tarpon isn’t about live bait versus no bait. It’s about ending gaff and drag. It’s not about cheap-laugh caricatures of traditional fishing guides. It’s about ending gaff and drag. It’s not about tortured attempts at photo caption hilarity, it’s about ending gaff and drag.
And that’s their problem. Deep down inside they know there’s nothing funny about gaff and drag. Dead tarpon don’t come with a punchline. A dozen boats running down a pod of fish doesn’t work with a laugh track. It’s pretty tough to build a sitcom around the gruesome shark attacks the PTTS promotes in its slick video pitch to advertisers.
But it’s just a Facebook page. One of millions of Facebook pages, most devoted to posting photos of cute kittens and playful puppies. Now and then one will come along that’s truly funny. Considering the seriousness of what’s at stake, however, Shave The Tarpon isn’t one of them – even though that Photoshopped crowd shot was pretty good.
At the end of the day, however, there’s still nothing funny about dead tarpon. You really should have stopped while you were ahead.