Sponsors – is your PTTS team obeying the law? Here’s one that didn’t even try

Miller's Ale HouseHats off to the Miller’s Ale House PTTS team captained by Artie Price. His Miller’s Ale House team caught and weighed a 154 pound tarpon to win Week 2 of the PTTS 2011 season.

But Price didn’t get the job done all by himself. The Miller’s Ale House PTTS team of Greg Devault and Frank Massaro, both of New Port Richey, plus Myakka’s Jon Turner also share credit for “gettin’ ‘er done.”

Unfortunately for Miller’s Ale House, the boys aboard Price’s Miller’s Ale House boat left Miller’s Ale House with something of a public relations black eye where Florida law is concerned. You see, the boys aboard Price’s Miller’s Ale House boat didn’t really get the job done that week. Not the whole job. They probably guessed nobody would notice.

Putting a $50 tarpon tag on that 154-pounder they weighed got just half the job done for the Miller’s Ale House team. But FWC regulations say, quite clearly, that the Miller’s Ale House team was required by law to finish the job by returning a tag card to the state within five days of its Miller’s Ale House 2011 Week 2 PTTS victory. These cards, to be filled out by the angler who “possessed” the tarpon, help the FWC with its conservation efforts. Especially in Boca Grande Pass. The tag cards tell FWC researchers where the fish was caught, its condition, its size and other useful tarpon conservation information. Useful, only if someone cares enough and takes the time to put the tag card in the mail.

See a list of all tags issued and returned in 2010/2011 here.

According to FWC records, Miller’s Ale House captain Artie Price never returned the required tag card for that tarpon the Miller’s Ale House team caught in Week 2. Miller’s Ale House team member Greg Devault never returned the required tag card for that tarpon the Miller’s Ale House team caught in Week 2. Miller’s Ale House team member Jon Turner never returned a tag for that tarpon the Miller’s Ale House team caught in Week 2. Miller’s Ale House team member Frank Massaro never returned a tag for that tarpon the Miller’s Ale House team caught in Week 2.

Here's one of the tarpon which Team Ale House weighed without using a legal tarpon tag.


In fact, it seems nobody aboard the boat sponsored by Miller’s Ale House bothered to return a card for that 154-pound tarpon the Miller’s Ale House team caught in Week 2 of the PTTS. Or, for that matter, any other week during the 2011 PTTS season. Cards returned for tarpon caught last year in Boca Grande Pass: 38. Cards returned last year for tarpon caught in Boca Grande Pass by the Miller’s Ale House team of Price, Devault, Turner and Massaro: 0. That’s zero. Zilch. Nada. None.

According to FWC records the Miller’s Ale House team never caught that 154-pounder. According to FWC records the Miller’s Ale House team didn’t capture, gaff, drag and weigh that 154-pounder. According to FWC records the Miller’s Ale House team couldn’t have won Week 2 of the 2011 PTTS, Miller’s Ale House couldn’t have won that nice new boat. That’s because, according to FWC records, Miller’s Ale House wasn’t there. According to FWC records, in 2011 the Miller’s Ale House team didn’t exist.

Except it did. It was on the TV.

The Miller’s Ale House team that went out and got the job done in Week 2 couldn’t be bothered to take the time or make the effort to get the whole job done as state law requires. But we understand. Filling out those forms, putting them in an envelope, spending money on stamps and hiking these things out to the mailbox can be inconvenient and expensive for a Miller’s Ale House team whose career PTTS winnings as of Week 2 of the 2011 season totaled a scant $300,000.

And really, who’s going to notice? Where tarpon regulations are concerned, it’s easy for teams like Miller’s Ale House to get away with just about anything with a wink and a nod. And even though FWC regulations state that failure to return a tag card can cost you the privilege of purchasing future possession tags and weighing fish in future PTTS tournaments, nobody in Tallahassee is paying attention to any of this. Either is the PTTS. Either, apparently, is Miller’s Ale House. Maybe they should.

In 2011 the tarpon tag program generated little more than $15,000 for the FWC. Care to guess how much the FWC spent on administrative and other costs associated with the tarpon tag? Care to guess what four letters benefitted most from what, in reality, is a financial drain on an agency that can better use its resources just about anywhere else than subsidizing a television show?

Sponsors like Miller’s Ale House need to spend a little time questioning what’s going on in their name in Boca Grande Pass, what’s going on their name in the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series and what’s going on in their name aboard the boats bearing their name.

If a law so simple and basic and beneficial as returning a tarpon tag card to the state agency that oversees Florida’s conservation efforts is being so blatantly ignored, it should give sponsors pause to ask what else is or isn’t happening inside this sports exhibition called the PTTS? Are those aboard all those boats all wrapped up in all those logos for all those folks at home to see really playing by the rules, following the regulations and obeying the law?

Is it honestly worth taking the chance that their team, their PTTS, their television show and, by association, their valuable brand name might – like team Miller’s Ale House – not be getting the whole job done?


  1. says

    I can even do you one better! Who has been the most outspoken member of the PTTS claiming to have followed each and every rule laid out by the FWC and criticized the SavetheTarpon movement for our “mistruths and lies?” If you answered Capt. Dave Markett then read on:

    2011 Team PowerPole:
    Capt. Davis Markett
    Daylon Markett
    Jennifer Markett
    Jose Martinez

    Strangely, not only do records show that they all failed to fill out a single Tarpon Tag return card, but none of them managed to actually purchase a card in 2011 either. Does this mean that Team PowerPole did not weigh a single Tarpon in the 2011 PTTS? I guess you will have to buy the DVD box set or wait for reruns to see just how many times Capt. Markett failed to get even HALF the job done.

    Just for reference here is a copy of the rule taken directly from the state register:

    68B-32.003 Tarpon Tags: Required for Possession; Report; Annual Issuance; Taxidermy; Limitation on Number of Tags Issued Annually; Limitation on Number of Tags Issued to Professional Fishing Guides.
    (1) No person shall take, kill, or possess any tarpon, unless such person has purchased a tarpon tag and securely attached it through the lower jaw of the fish. Within 5 days after the landing of a tagged tarpon, the person possessing it shall submit a form to the Commission (Form DMF-SL3200 (3-05), incorporated herein by reference) indicating the length, weight, and physical condition of the tarpon and the date and location where the fish was caught. Additional tags may be denied to any person or guide who fails to provide the required information.
    (2) Tarpon tags are valid for the period beginning July 1 each year and continuing through June 30 of the following year or until used, whichever occurs first. Before August 15 of each year, each tax collector shall submit to the Commission all unused tags for the previous license year along with a written audit report as to the number of unused tags, on forms provided by the Commission (Form DMF-SL3210 (3-05), incorporated herein by reference). Tarpon tags are nontransferable, except for those distributed by professional fishing guides pursuant to subsection (5).
    (3) Subsection (1) shall not apply to anyone who immediately returns a tarpon uninjured to the water at the place where the fish was caught. The prohibition of possession of an untagged tarpon in subsection (1) shall not apply to a taxidermist who removes the tag during the process of mounting a tarpon. The removed tag shall remain with the fish during any subsequent storage or shipment.
    (4) In any license year, the total number of tarpon tags issued shall not exceed 2,500.
    (5) Each professional fishing guide may purchase tarpon tags for subsequent transfer to individual customers; provided, however, that the total number of tags issued during any license year to professional fishing guides shall not exceed 1,250.
    Specific Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 11-30-88, Amended 11-1-89, 10-1-90, 12-4-91, 11-26-92, 11-29-93, 1-1-95, 1-1-96, 11-27-96, 11-12-97, 11-16-98, Formerly 46-32.003, Amended 3-1-05.

  2. RJ Kirker says

    The house of cards is collapsing around the PTTS. Respectable brands like Miller’s Ale House and PowerPole have too much invested in protecting those brands. Sponsoring individuals who so openly flaunt the laws and regulations is a train wreck waiting to happen. Price and Markett are the PTTS golden boys, the tournament’s poster children. They are held up as the best and the brightest of the PTTS. And this is how they behave?

    As someone who has worked in advertising, I’d be advising both sponsors to run, not walk, as far away from this PR disaster-in-the-making as they can possibly get. As far as the other sponsors? “Getting out while the getting is still good” springs to mind.

    (I just counted. Miller’s Ale House is mentioned 31 times. But I probably missed a few. Not the kind of publicity Miller’s Ale House wants. Now the count is 33.)

  3. Save the TarponSave the Tarpon says

    Capt. Dave Markett of Team PowerPole commented on a local fishing forum:

    “point was that we were there as the result of following all the rules and from hard work and attention to very small details. Our team does not “snag” and we do everything possible to assure the health of the few fish we weigh – while adhering to state and PTTS rules.”

    Except Capt. Dave Markett of team PowerPole forgot the very small details of purchasing and filling out his Tarpon tag in 2011 for the entire PTTS season. Captain Dave Markett of Team PowerPole should know better. Afterall, he is an accomplished gator guide in the state of Florida and all records indicate he has, and continues, to follow the rules with regards to gator tags. Maybe it is the influence of PowerPole and the bright lights of the PTTS that has clouded his judgment. Maybe Captain Markett of Team PowerPole adheres to all the rules except 68B-32.003.

    We would be happy to post any reply he has that actually answers the allegations we have raised rather than posing new questions and making false claims about who we are or what we stand for.

  4. says

    Here is a quote from Capt. Dave Markett of Team PowerPole that was sent to us. Capt. Dave Markett of Team PowerPole posted this on a local fishing forum in response to our bringing to light that his Team PowerPole failed to purchase a single Tarpon tag, or return the cards for tags used during the 2011 PTTS season. Rather than take responsibility for his actions, Capt. Dave Markett of Team PowerPole (and also the west florida representative for the Florida Guides Association) would rather try to debate prosecussion of these violations. Is this in the spirit of the guides association? Do they condone violating rules set forth by FWC simply because they may be difficult to prosecute after the fact? Decide for yourself.

    “As to the “Tarpon Tag Harvest Report Form” of which you speak, the last statement on the card says, “THIS CARD MUST BE RETURNED BY JULY 31” ………… Of what year??

    Let’s see, scenario one: Capt. DUC guided a team of women who caught and entered a tarpon in PTTS. At what point did Capt. DUC or those ladies LEGALLY “harvest” a tarpon that required a tarpon tag OR a TARPON TAG HARVEST REPORT FORM? Who “harvested” that tarpon? Please, Capt. DUC, quote statute or case law that defines “harvest” in this context and sets case law.

    The required standard of proof is “beyond any reasonable doubt”. Every citizen’s entitlemen is a jury of one’s peers. Any proposed juror with a predetermination can be excused for cause.

    Let’s look at a second scenario — let’s say an angler catches a tarpon and brings it boatside. A barbless release gaff is placed inside the lower jaw, the fish’s head is left in the water and the fish is swimmed upright to the scale — reasonable people could concur that the revival process started imediately when water was forced over the gills of the tarpon as it was moved forward. Reasonable people could conclude the angler fully intended to comply with PTTS rules which mandate every fish entered must be released alive, not HARVESTED. Reasonable people could conclude the entire process is part of a detemined effort to revive the fish.

    The live fish is placed in the wet weigh sling while it is under water and the angler steps back. Has that angler “harvested” that live fish? It’s still alive, in the water and the angler has no link to the fish. The fish has a tag in its lower jaw and the clear intent of all involved is to immediately release the fish after a weigh process that takes about one minute start to finish. The live fish is returned to the water, the tag is clipped and the fish is swimmed away from the scale and is released alive. So, who “harvested” that live fish?? Reasonable people could conclude that nobody did.

    What prosecution witness will testify the person who bought a tarpon tag was provided a return post card? Exactly which state manager will testify the tag purchaser was intended / destined to suffer a misdemeanor charge for failing to return a postcard that you can’t prove he or she ever recieved? Or that was filled in correctly, mailed and was never recieved?”

    Well Capt. Dave Markett, here are a few things you should be aware of. These are all taken from a handy brochure: http://myfwc.com/media/2077379/Tarpon_brochure.pdf (more on this later).

    Since you have not taken the time to read the brochure, I will highlight some key points for you.

    1)You must purchase a tarpon tag from the FWC to lawfully possess a tarpon.
    2)Dragging tarpon to weigh stations is considered possession
    3)We have already discussed that tag return cards must of returned within 5 days of possessing a Tarpon, NOT by July 31 of an undetermined year.

    I dont think we need a jury of our peers to see the intent of FWC on this. So rather than take responsibility for your actions, or just take the time to read the brochure you would rather have a debate as to the outcome of a jury trial? Is trying to justify your blatant disregard for the law an action becoming of a Florida Guides Association representative?

  5. RJ Kirker says

    Capt. Markett wants to play barracks lawyer. He suggests the tag cards were lost in the mail. All of them? He blames the FWC for not providing him with cards or, in the alternative, suggest the commission was so incompetent as to lose them. All of them?

    I’m confused. Exactly how, Capt. Markett, does a card from a tag that FWC records show was never purchased in the first place get lost in the mail? How can you blame the FWC for losing something the records clearly show never existed? Or maybe the FWC really is as incompetent as Capt. Markett suggests, and the FWC’s records are wrong. And he’s right.

    Capt. Markett needs to man up on this one. Show some class. Do the honorable thing and say your dog ate it.

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