Colecchio ‘exposes’ imaginary plot to gut tarpon, frame PTTS

Gary Colecchio wants to believe, too.Our old friend and unrepentant PTTS apologist Gary S. Colecchio should probably come down from the grassy knoll, take off the foil beanie and consider the absurdity of the odd little conspiracy theory he’s been trying to peddle to his fish forum followers in recent days.

In a shrill attempt to be relevant again, Colecchio wants his forum friends to believe the now-famous dead tarpon that researchers have linked to a June 3 PTTS event was, in his alternative reality, gutted by someone affiliated with Save The Tarpon. Why? To make the tournament look bad – or, more accurately – worse.

To get his theory to work, Colecchio has resorted to inventing a nameless Save The Tarpon renegade evil genius he’s endowed with the power to magically defy all known laws of probability while simultaneously proving to be the most clueless person on the planet.

While he’s understandably vague on the mechanics at work here, Colecchio claims his purported STT perp cold-bloodedly gutted the fish with some mystic mathematical expectation that it would, miraculously, later be found floating by some random passing boater. A person Save The Tarpon’s evil genius somehow calculated the fates would put in precisely the right place at precisely the right time. A person with absolutely no affiliation with Save The Tarpon. Someone who happened, just happened, to have a FWRI-issued DNA sampling kit on board.

Sure, Gary. Heard from Elvis lately?

But there’s a bigger problem with Colecchio’s conspiracy conjuring. It’s the floating part. The supposed purpose of slitting open a tarpon from tip to tail is, obviously, to make the corpse sink. The fish, DNA and all, goes to the bottom, never to be seen again. Which is pretty much what all of us, if we happened to be in a tarpon gutting mood, would reasonably expect to happen.

In other words, to simulate an attempt to sink the evidence, you would most likely wind up doing exactly that. You’d sink the evidence. Brilliant! Colecchio’s theory essentially requires you to believe something he doesn’t: Save The Tarpon’s master of dirty tricks was apparently smart enough to come up with this convoluted scheme, but too stupid to realize the evidence would most probably head straight for the bottom.

The fact that the eviscerated PTTS tarpon didn’t wind up sleeping with the fishes baffles even the most experienced and knowledgeable Pass hands – a group that doesn’t, by his own admission, include Colecchio. But our old friend has never left an absence of knowledge or experience get in the way of a good fish forum post.

Tarpon are naturally buoyant  Unless you cut them open. Then they stop being buoyant  Whoever cut open that PTTS tarpon did a thorough job of it. Based on the photos and descriptions provided the FWRI, that gutted PTTS tarpon and its PTTS DNA shouldn’t have been floating in the Gulf near Boca Grande Pass on the morning of June 4.

It should, by all reasoning, have sunk. There should, by all reasoning, have been no possibility it would be found by a passing boater with a camera and a DNA kit just one day after it was caught, gaffed, dragged and sampled. It and its DNA shouldn’t, by all reasoning, have been found lifelessly treading water a day after taking a ride on the PTTS scales. By all reasoning, the fish should have vanished without a trace after it was hauled away to be “revived” by the PTTS Tires Plus Release Team.

But you know what they say about karma.

The case against the PTTS is, of course, largely circumstantial. There’s no question the fish was last seen, supposedly alive, in the loving care of the tournament’s Tires Plus Release Team. Also known as “opportunity.” Slitting it from tip to tail required nothing more than a knife. This falls into the category of “means.” Then there’s the third requirement. “Motive.” You can be the judge on this one.

Colecchio is demanding proof the gutted tarpon was the work of the PTTS. The case, as it stands, is largely circumstantial. But you can ask the folks in prison about circumstantial evidence. Colecchio is also demanding Save The Tarpon prove it didn’t do it.

Aside from the commonly accepted near-impossibility of disproving a negative, the facts as they’re known and the sheer idiocy of Colecchio’s “sink the tarpon so it doesn’t sink” theory, we’re left with nothing but a few photos, a video record of the June 3 tournament, the observations of scientists at the Florida Wildlife Research Institute and two matching DNA samples.

Next thing you know, Colecchio will be demanding to see the tarpon’s birth certificate.


  1. Randy Johnson says

    So did PTTS owner, Gary Ingman, inform Gary Colecchio of this evil Save the Tarpon gutting genius, or did Gary Colecchio inform Gary Ingman? Either way, at least they finally got their stories straight. But wait, Colecchio has absolutely NOTHING to do with the PTTS, right? Yea, sure he doesn’t.
    Here’s the Boca Beacon article with Gary Ingman’s version:

  2. Shane Sovan says

    Quite frankly that’s probably the dumbest thing I have heard yet from the PTTS! My god, don’t you people read what you write before you hit the submit button? Really, read it again and tell me your using COMMON SENSE. I mean, I know you’re reaching for whatever you can, but COME ON!!!!! Perhaps you will blame it on the FWC OFFICER, YEA THAT’S THE TICKET. He prob hit it with his patrol boat!!! LMAO!!!

  3. Joey Buttons says

    Colecchio is a loud mouth who lives 60 miles south of Boca Grande and has stated he doesn’t fish the area. He likes to stick his nose in business he knows nothing of. He needs to stick to drinking martinis and walking his little beach walk down in Sanibel. I was fishing the pass when Gary was shoveling snow off his car in Ohio.

  4. White Bacon says

    Keep up the good work STT. Colecchio and Mercurio, despite their weak and expected comments, failed to choreograph their normally synchronized rebuttal in this instance. Colecchio – No science! Mercurio – We know nothing!

    After having read all the debate, once again there are only a few reasonable conclusions to make regarding the now infamous gutted tarpon, first captured by the PTTS.

    The gutted tarpon in question was proven to have been caught and released by a PTTS participant during a PTTS tournament. It was observed dead the next day, apparently gutted to prevent it from floating. The PTTS vehemently denies the gutting, and Gary C doesn’t buy any reasonable explanation without “supreme court level proof”. Glad to see nothing has changed with Gary or the PTTS.

    Assuming that the PTTS’ claims are true, one must conclude that the previously hooked, gaffed, dragged, and weighed tarpon survived the initial PTTS trauma. Then you must make a galactic leap and believe this battered tarpon was caught again within hours of release by the PTTS and correctly identified by the second angler to be one of the weighed fish from the PTTS held the previous day. Then…..the sinister second angler guts the tarpon in an effort to further impugn the PTTS record of “catch-and-release” success.

    It’s beyond laughable to believe that such a scenario is even plausible. I can’t imagine anyone with at least a third grade education would consider such an outlandish tale. Mercurio strongly denies any PTTS involvement related to the tarpon gutting. Gary C demands proof!

    Colecchio and Mercurio remind us of Johnny Cochran and OJ Simpson. At least the tale spun by Cochran and Simpson while laughable, was conceivable.

    I think we can all agree Colecchio and Mercurio are intelligent people. For them to make such outlandish statements only solidifies the intentional intellectual dishonesty they continually spew in their defense of the shameless pursuit of profits, and the total disregard for fellow anglers and the tarpon fishery the PTTS routinely exploits.

    Mercurio and Colecchio have cemented themselves in the ‘Zero Credibility’ Hall of Fame.

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