Boycott Tires Plus Total Car Care

Boycott Tires Plus - Total Car Care(UPDATE: You did it! Tires Plus Total Car Care has announced it is ending its sponsorship of the PTTS. See related story.)

Tires Plus Total Car Care is a high-profile Professional Tarpon Tournament Series sponsor. Its brand is associated with the tournament’s so-called “Tires Plus Release Team,” also known as the “Tires Plus Drag and Dump Crew” for its documented practice of dragging near-dead tarpon into the deepest part of the Pass and dumping them. In PTTS-speak, this is known as “reviving.” We tend to call it something else: Surgery.

Tires Plus Total Car Care, according to its website, was founded in 1972. Other sources put the date at 1976. In 2000, Tires Plus was sold to Bridgestone/Firestone by founder Tom Gegax. According to the company’s website, Tires Plus is based in Clearwater. Gegax serves as chairman emeritus.

Boycott Tires PlusUnder Gegax, the Tires Plus motto was “Changing the World One Tire at a Time.” This has, apparently, now been updated to “Wiping Out a Species One Tarpon at a Time.” Sponsorship of the PTTS isn’t entirely consistent with Gegax’s most recent interests, however. The former self-described Tires Plus “head coach” is actively involved through his family foundation in a number of conservation causes. Most notably, the Waterkeeper Alliance, a significant player in the aftermath of the April 2010 BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

He is also closely associated with John Robbins, founder of EarthSave, an international non-profit organization. Its stated mission is to raise awareness of “ecological destruction and cruelty.” The PTTS doesn’t quite fit the profile on this one. Mr. Gegax is no longer involved in the day-to-day operation of the company he founded. But his voice still carries substantial influence. He is likely unaware of Tires Plus Total Car Care’s association with the PTTS, and that this association clearly contradicts his otherwise pro-conservation efforts.

This is where your role as educator comes into play. We have every reason to believe Mr. Gegax would be more than a bit distressed to learn of his company’s substantial involvement with an operation like the PTTS. Once he is alerted to the tournament’s history and what the PTTS is doing in his company’s name, it’s a pretty good bet somebody’s phone is going to ring.

Tires Plus Drag And Dump Crew

Keep this in mind should you choose to reach out to Mr. Gegax. Contacting him, however, could be problematic. His Detroit-based Gegax Family Foundation is operated through U.S. Trust. There is no way to directly contact him through his foundation.

Mr. Gegax does, however, apparently have an email address through Tires Plus. It is tomg@tiresplus.com. No guarantees, but it’s certainly worth trying. If you do reach out to him by email, it’s important to remember he is most likely unaware of the PTTS and his company’s involvement. Accordingly, you may wish to provide a link to SaveTheTarpon.com in your correspondence after briefly stating your reason for writing.

Tires Plus Total Car Care can and should be contacted through its website or, if you wish, by phone. Tires Plus Total Car Care Consumer Affairs can be reached at (800) 440-4167. The company can be contacted online (check the box marked “General Comments and Questions) here: http://www.tiresplus.com/contact/.  Another option would be to leave a message on the Tires Plus Facebook Page.

Boycott Tires Plus

Do The ‘Write’ Thing: Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc.

UPDATE 1/13/2013: Costa del Mar has announced they will no longer be sponsoring the PTTS.  Thank you Costa! And to everyone who spent the time to share your feelings with Save the Tarpon and Costa, congratulations, your voice was heard!

Save The Tarpon is asking your help to Do The ‘Write’ Thing by reaching out to those who sponsor and advertise with the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. These companies care about their image and the integrity of their brand. And they really do want to hear from their current and future customers on issues that impact their business and, of course, their bottom line. Who are these companies? Meet Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc., PTTS sponsor. At the end of this post we’ll show you a few ways you can Do The ‘Write’ Thing by contacting Costa Del Mar to make your voice, combined with those of 12,000 others, heard. 

Costa del Mar SunglassesAbout Costa Del Mar:
Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc. is a Florida company based in Daytona Beach. It designs and manufactures high-end polarized sunglasses, as well as apparel and accessories tailored to the angling, sailing and surfing public. Its products are sold online and through 5,000 retailers nationwide. Costa was founded in 1983. On April 22, 2003, the A. T. Cross Company (think Cross Pens) purchased Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. Cross is headquartered in Lincoln, Rhode Island. It is listed on Nasdaq as ATX. The stock’s price per share hovers in the $11 range. It should be noted that publicly traded companies do tend to listen when their shareholders have something to say.

Costa is a high-profile sponsor of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series. Along with its parent company, it is also very PR conscious. Costa prides itself on its Florida roots and its reputation for being a responsible and responsive corporate citizen. On its website, the company notes “We’re a big believer in grassroots initiatives.” It doesn’t get more “grassroots” than Save The Tarpon. In the case of the PTTS, it appears Costa Del Mar – which sponsors a number of fishing tournaments and events – made a poorly vetted choice that is inconsistent with the company’s pro-conservation traditions and its long history of supporting causes that include the Cousteau Society and the Bonefish Tarpon Trust.

Costa Del Mar’s CEO is Charles R. “Chas” MacDonald, 58, whose title is President, Cross Optical Group. It is unclear whether Mr. MacDonald is based in Florida or Rhode Island. But he calls the shots at Costa. Correspondence through the Costa website (see links below) can properly be addressed to him.

Contacting Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc.:
Reasonable but firm is probably the best way to approach Costa Del Mar Sunglasses. If you are a Cross shareholder, say so. If you are a Costa customer, say so. At $89 to $290 a pop, Costa products aren’t an impulse buy. The company shares the ultra competitive high-end optical market with brands such as Maui Jim, Oakley, Revo, Bolle, Smith Optics, Ray-Ban and Kaenon.

As a consumer, you have many choices. Letting Costa know that you, a valued customer, know these other choices exist is important. Letting Costa know that you, a valued customer, know these other choices aren’t pumping their promotional dollars into the PTTS is equally important. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt to mention if you, a valued customer, are considering a purchase of a new pair of high-end sunglasses sometime between now and May, 2013. It is, of course, unfortunate that Costa – as a PTTS sponsor – likely won’t be on your list.

As already noted, Costa Del Mar is responsive. This is reflected in the amount of contact information provided on the company’s website. You can give Costa a call, use the provided online comment form, connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, shoot off a fax or sit down and write them an old-fashioned letter. As always, please provide your name, address and all other requested information.

Company Address:
Charles R. MacDonald
Cross Optical Group
c/o Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc.
2361 Mason Avenue, Suite 100
Daytona Beach, FL 32117

Company Phone and Fax:
(800) 447-3700 Toll Free
(386) 274-4001 Fax
Note: If you phone, ask to speak to someone in Public Relations. These are the people who are paid to listen. If you fax, include “ATTN: Public Relations.” If you opt to give Costa a call, you might still wish to use some or all of the other available resources. HINT: Don’t expect the voice on the phone to do a whole lot more than listen and ask a few questions. The decisions are made by the decision makers upstairs. Be friendly, polite and to the point. Keep it simple. You are a current or potential Costa customer and as such, you have some strong concerns about an event the company sponsors. Let them take it from there. Odds are good they will. If the person you’re speaking with is already aware of the situation with the PTTS, request a statement on the company’s position and ask to add your name and voice to the list of concerned callers.

Online:
Costa provides an online contact form. Under “Subject,” please select “Public Relations” from the drop-down menu. You will be asked to provide a first and last name, email address, phone number and physical address. These fields are followed by a box for your comments. Speak your mind. Then click “Submit” and you’re done.

Again, the contact form can be found here.

Facebook:
Stop by the company’s Facebook page and give Costa a “like.” Then mention you’ve sent off a message concerning the PTTS. You can also add a link to http://www.savethetarpon.com or http://www.facebook.com/SaveTheTarpon

Twitter:
A Tweet to Costa would be equally sweet. Same deal as Facebook.

Other Options:
You may also wish to share your concerns with your local Costa Del Mar retailer. A list of Costa dealers in your area can be found here. Just enter your ZIP code into the box provided on the page.

*It’s probably useful to note that Costa Del Mar might seek to explain that it has a contractual obligation with the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series and that its hands are, essentially, tied. This isn’t entirely correct. Most promotional contracts contain a stated or implied “morals clause.” This provision holds the PTTS to certain behavioral standards designed to prevent the tournament from bringing disrepute, contempt or scandal to a sponsor. You may wish to invite Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc. to review the extensive collection of material found on SaveTheTarpon.com to make its own determination on this question.

Then what?
You might get a phone call or an email requesting additional information. Tell your own story in your own words. Point Costa towards savethetarpon.com and the Facebook page with its more than 8,500 followers. But be sincere (we know you are) and be yourself. And thanks for taking the time to Do The ‘Write’ Thing by lending a hand and your voice to this very important cause.

If you Do The ‘Write’ Thing and receive feedback from Costa Del Mar Sunglasses Inc., let us know how it went. Feel free to Do The ‘Write’ Thing with us by shooting off a message to Save The Tarpon.

Boycott Ingman Marine

Gary Ingman is owner and President of Ingman Marine, a boat dealership in Sarasota, Placida and Port Charlotte, Florida. Gary Ingman is also owner of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).  This made-for-TV fishing tournament series is considered highly unethical and unsportsmanlike by Save the Tarpon, Inc and our 17,000 supporters world-wide.

It is because of this, Save the Tarpon asks for your support in boycotting the services and products offered by Ingman Marine.

The PTTS is owned and operated by the Tarpon Anglers Club, a for profit LLC registered in the State of Florida.  Here are the current State records available on sunbiz.org.

TARPON ANGLERS CLUB, LLC

Registered Agent Name & Address
GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953 US

Manager/Member Details

GARY INGMAN (President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

MIZE, GARY (Vice President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

The PTTS (Professional Tarpon Tournament Series) Television Show is owned and operated by SILVER KING ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.  Here is the info from sunbiz.org as well:

SILVER KING ENTERTAINMENT, LLC

Registered Agent Name & Address

GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

USManager/Member Detail

GARY INGMAN, Title MGRM
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
JOSEPH MERCURIO
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
RODNEY TAUCHER
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
VICKIE MIZE
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Worried about where to get your Yamaha serviced?  Well, Yamaha is also on our boycott list as they are a major sponsor of the PTTS.  However, for local outboard service try The Boat House on Placida Road or Abels Marine on Gasparilla Road.

Another helpful tactic would be to contact Grady-White Boats (Ingman Marine is an exclusive dealer of this boat manufacturer) and let them know you will not support Ingman Marine or their products because of their destructive attitude towards the Boca Grande Tarpon fishery and local environment.  Their contact information is as follows:

Grady-White Boats Inc 5121 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy, Greenville, NC 27834 (252) 752-2111 ‎ gradywhite.com

Or email them at custserv@gradywhite.com .

Eddie Smith, Jr., CEO of Grady-White Boats has this posted on the company’s website:

“Dedication to Fisheries Resources and Coastal Environment
Eddie Smith has led Grady-White to be recognized as the boating industry’s leader in recreational fishing and coastal environment issues. Eddie himself has been recognized for lifetime achievement by the American Sportfishing Association, and has also been honored by the International Game Fish Association and many others for his commitment. Many of the managers and other employees at Grady-White are similarly dedicated to the long-term health of fisheries and coastal areas. A Grady-White boat is truly a symbol of dedication to the best kind of future for our children, our fisheries and our waterways.”

PTTS Sponsors Wishing to be Removed From the Boycott/Protest list

Dear PTTS sponsors,

We have received many email inquiries from businesses wishing to “quietly walk away” who may or may not agree with our opinions or methods, but wish to remove themselves from the controversy.  Several have expressed the opinion they personally wish to remove their sponsorship, but have ongoing relationships with individuals and other businesses who may remain affiliated with the event, we respect this position entirely.

The boycott and protest campaigns organized and supported by Save the Tarpon, Inc are not meant to do damage to businesses. They are meant to express the free will of the consumer and show our displeasure with your business’s support of what we feel is a destructive and unethical event.  We are well aware of the potential damage that can be done by a protest, and in this respect we would not wish to continue to promote a boycott of any business that is not involved in the PTTS.

We have started a telephone and email campaign to notify businesses of this position and to allow them sufficient notice so that they may make a final decision about their affiliation with the PTTS.  This is not blackmail and there is no ultimatum stating that you must remove your sponsorship ‘or else.’  Through our contact with many sponsors, the opinion of most is that they have not been properly informed regarding the controversy surrounding the PTTS and its methods. This phone campaign is to help not only inform sponsors of our position, as stated by us, not by our detractors.  It also provides notice to the business so they have time to remove themselves from the list, as well as providing them the information below as to how they can be removed from the listing.

Our primary mission is to promote awareness of the damage being caused by PTTS to the Boca Grande Tarpon fishery, the community, and its heritage.  Many sponsors we have contacted are offended by our methods stating that they agree with our position (after reading some of our materials or actually taking the time to speak with us, to those who have we thank you graciously).  That being said, it takes only moments online to find numerous negative or controversial reports from many reputable sources in the media with regards to the PTTS.  Among them, you will not find a single in support of the event that does not come from someone with a vested interest in the event. Those businesses must also shoulder some of the blame, as much of this controversy has been known for years.

You may not agree with our methods, but we don’t think that any of those who have taken the time to contact us will say that we are irrational or untrustworthy.  We do hold 100% by our convictions, and out of fairness we do not show any favortism towards sponsors of the event.  Many of us have friends, acquaintances, business contacts, and even family participating in and supporting the PTTS.  This is not an attack on these individuals or on their personal businesses, but rather is an attack on the revenue stream of those profiting from the destruction of a natural resource that we all feel very passionately about.  The following requirements and stipulations will be upheld and enforced equally among all sponsors, no matter the size, relationship to members, etc.

Though some businesses chose to support our mission, others wish only to be free of the controversy.  We respect both positions equally.  We will take the time to outline a very simple process for removing yourself from the list:

  1. Notify us via email  (contact@savethetarpon.com Attn: Boycott) that you will not be participating in 2013.  You may give us a reason, tell us your are pleased with our mission, let us know how much you hate us, or say nothing. Believe it or not, we greatly value your constructive feedback.
  2. Let us know if you would like us to announce your removal publicly.  We will make no public mention of your removal from the tournament and will simply take you off the boycott/blacklist/protest list if you do not request us to make a statement.  Your email will remain 100% confidential providing that the business in question actually follows through with their removal from the 2013 event.  You are welcome to prepare a public statement separate from your email if you are so inclined. * No public statement is required.*
  3. We will keep all correspondence between your business and Save the Tarpon, Inc strictly confidential.  Those of you that have taken the time to speak with some of our members on the phone can attest to our ethics on this.

 

Sincerely,

SaveTheTarpon.com members

Save the Tarpon Supporters Show Up in Top Form to Protest the PTTS

Early reports of today’s Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) protest are coming in. Starting with the first “release” floating up on the beach. There will be videos, photos and stories coming. For all those who attended the event, good work!

If you attended the protest and captured any of today’s events, please forward us your story, photos and videos as we work to compile all of the evidence.

Peaceful Protest of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS)

Please join us for a peaceful protest of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).

Where:  Gasparilla Island State Park (Boca Grande Lighthouse) at the South end of beach. Look for the PTTS weigh-in area.

When: Sunday, June 17th, 2012 at 9:30 AM

What to Bring: Yourself, your friends, banners and signs.  Please add SaveTheTarpon.com to your materials. Also, make sure you bring a few bucks for each person to pay entry to the park. Oh, and cameras to help document the event.

Parking: There may not be any parking left in the State Park lot, so plan accordingly.  Come by boat, bike, golf cart, hot air balloon…whatever it takes.

It is very important everyone stay calm and controlled to uphold the integrity of our cause. 

Email us if you have any further questions.

Important Links

Use the flyers and logos below to help spread the word.  The flyers are standard letter size so print some out and hang them around town.

Here is a link to the protest flyer.

Here is a link to the general Save the Tarpon flyer.

Here is a link to a high res image for a t-shirt or print material.

 

 

Who Owns the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) in Boca Grande Florida?

ingman marineThe Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) in Boca Grande Florida.

(Originally posted by On )

The gift of world-class Tarpon fishing in Boca Grande is a precious resource given to all of us to enjoy and be enriched by.  It is a gift we must all work together to preserve and respect.  However, some for-profit businesses have decided to make a fishing tournament designed to “enrich” their own pockets while unnecessarily compromising this resource for their own financial gain.  If you think the PTTS (Professional Tarpon Tournament Series) is cool, that’s because it has been cleverly designed to achieve this response.  It is through the emotional response triggered by “good TV” that you happily turn your money over to them in one way or another.  And every time they have an angler or professional guide defend their tactics or participate in their tarpon tournament,  they laugh all the way to the bank.  They are disrupting and damaging a fishery that doesn’t exclusively belong to them–it belongs to all of us and our children.

What’s wrong with a tarpon tournament in Boca Grande, you ask? Well, nothing. (Here’s a link to one of the conservation-minded tarpon tournaments.)  There are plenty of other Tarpon tournaments which pose no threat to the waterways or fishery.  However, the PTTS is not one of them.  It has purposely adopted unethical fishing practices to help facilitate higher TV ratings–fishing practices that have long been known to the angling community (and almost all other fishing tournaments) as outdated and unsportsmanlike.

The gaffing, dragging, weighing, and often subsequent death of the Tarpon are for nothing more than increased TV ratings and shows a blatant disregard for the fishery. By glorifying this damaging process on National television,  it also actively promotes the same contemptuous behavior to recreational anglers who use the TV show as a guide for how to fish for Tarpon in and around Boca Grande Pass.  Now, outside of the hours of the tournament, you are seeing recreational anglers, and even their fishing guides, dragging exhausted Tarpon to the beach for a photo op.  Additionally, the dangerous and disrespectful boat operations also promoted through the PTTS television show has created an entire group of individuals who try to emulate these behaviors upon their visit to Boca Grande.  This endangers the lives and livelihood of the residents and law-abiding citizens who also use Boca Grande Pass and its surrounding waters.

The PTTS is owned and operated by the Tarpon Anglers Club.  Again, don’t be fooled.  This is not a non-profit anglers club happily created to promote sportfishing. It is a for profit LLC registered in the State of Florida.  Here are the current State records available on sunbiz.org.

TARPON ANGLERS CLUB, LLC

Registered Agent Name & Address

GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953 US

Manager/Member Details

INGMAN, GARY (President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

MIZE, GARY (Vice President of Ingman Marine)
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

The PPTS (Professional Tarpon Tournament Series) Television Show is owned and operated by SILVER KING ENTERTAINMENT, LLC.  Here is the info from sunbiz.org as well:

Registered Agent Name & Address

GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953 US

Manager/Member Detail

Title MGRM
GARY INGMAN
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
JOSEPH MERCURIO
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
RODNEY TAUCHER
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

Title MGRM
VICKIE MIZE
1189 TAMIAMI TRAIL
PORT CHARLOTTE FL 33953

For many of the locals, you know Gary Ingman as owner and President of Ingman Marine, a boat dealership in Sarasota, Placida and Port Charlotte.  Many in support of ethical angling have directly asked Gary to change these harmful, unsportsmanlike, and outdated aspects of the tournament in regards to the handling of the Tarpon.  He has declined to make changes.  It is because of this I ask for your support in boycotting the services and products offered by Ingman Marine.  An alternate choice for Yamaha service is The Boat House on Placida Road. They are located only minutes from the Placida Road location of Ingman Marine.   I also personally recommend using Abels Marine on Gasparilla Road. They are also close-by and good local people who do solid work.  In fact, it is very likely both of these alternatives to Ingman Marine will save you money on any service performed to your boat.  Let them know why you are using them instead of Ingman Marine, and they may even show appreciation by offering a discount.

Another helpful tactic would be to contact Grady-White Boats (Ingman Marine is an exclusive dealer of this boat manufacturer) and let them know you will not support Ingman Marine or their products because of their destructive attitude towards the Boca Grande Tarpon fishery and local environment.  Their contact information is as follows:

Grady-White Boats Inc 5121 Martin Luther King Jr Hwy, Greenville, NC 27834 (252) 752-2111 ‎ gradywhite.com

Or email them at custserv@gradywhite.com .

Eddie Smith, Jr., CEO of Grady-White Boats has this posted on the company’s website:

“Dedication to Fisheries Resources and Coastal Environment
Eddie Smith has led Grady-White to be recognized as the boating industry’s leader in recreational fishing and coastal environment issues. Eddie himself has been recognized for lifetime achievement by the American Sportfishing Association, and has also been honored by the International Game Fish Association and many others for his commitment. Many of the managers and other employees at Grady-White are similarly dedicated to the long-term health of fisheries and coastal areas. A Grady-White boat is truly a symbol of dedication to the best kind of future for our children, our fisheries and our waterways.”

Dear Yamaha Motors, Your Actions are Disgusting Us. Stop Sponsoring the PTTS!

Yamaha Motors Puts Profits before PrinciplesBelow is yet another letter sent to Yamaha Motor Corporation regarding their participation in the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).    Call, email, or post a comment at the bottom of this post.  Let Yamaha Motors know Mr. Cannella is not alone on this.

And thank you Mr. Cannella for taking the time to voice your concerns to Yamaha Motor Company and allowing us to post a copy for our audience.

To all of the backers of the Save the Tarpon movement: Lets hold these companies and their brands accountable.  Oh, and please remember, Yamaha Motors also owns Skeeter Boats. Skeeter Boats are given as the Grand Prizes in the tournament.

From: Norman Cannella
Sent: Thursday, June 07, 2012 2:22 PM
To:ben_speciale@yamaha-motor.com
Subject: Boca Grande Pass, Florida and the Tarpon

Mr. Speciale:

Allow me to introduce myself. I am nearly seventy years old. A lawyer for the last thirty-nine years. A retired United State Navy Commander. A life-long fisherman. A resident of Tampa, Florida for all of my life save the time I was on active duty with the Navy.  I own property on Gasparilla Island and travel weekly from my Tampa home to Boca Grande. I fish every weekend.

At a very early age, and before the bridge was built to allow vehicle access to Gasparilla Island, I was fishing the waters around the Island. In the late nineteen fifties a bridge and causeway were built and the Island changed. For many, many years preceding the bridge Boca Grande, as the Island is known, was historically world known for tarpon fishing in the pass. The method of tarpon fishing developed beginning in the early nineteen twenties involved live bait and a controlled drift.

Approximately fifteen to twenty years ago breakaway jig fishing was unfortunately introduced. More unfortunate was the influx of out of the area guides employing outboards in an nontraditional and dangerous fashion. Because of the “success” of breakaway jig fishing and the advent of outdoor television shows, Joe Mercurio, along with Gary Ingman, a man I am certain you know, created several corporations which sponsor and sell the film of their Professional Tarpon Tournament Series.

Tarpon, for over one hundred years, have been favoring Boca Grande Pass on their yearly migrations.Most all of the tarpon over one hundred pounds are females. Moreover, a tarpon of one hundred pounds an larger are old. Of course it is impossible to precisely age the fish, it is not uncommon for a large tarpon to be fifty to sixty years in the water. Therefore, many of the fish visiting Boca Grande have been doing so for quite some time.

I doubt if you have been present for one of the PTTS events. If you haven’t, you should attend. After all, you do lend your corporate name to the list of sponsors. The event is nothing but a spectacle. The method and means of fishing is embarrassing to say the least. Well over fifty outboards continuously motor about looking at bottom machines for the sign of tarpon below. You do know outboards exhaust underwater. As soon as fish are located, down go the jigs fished on light line in order to maintain the line as vertical as possible, If the fish move, the fleet moves; that beat goes on for hours. Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are usually present for the spectacles. One, however, never sees these enforcers of the law venture into the midst of the melee to check for compliance with rules and regulations of the Commission. Why? It simply is too dangerous.

A great majority of the hook-ups are from outside in rather than the traditional inside out. An outside in hook-up would be snagging but for the law defining snatching which requires a treble hook.

Tarpon are not dumb. To put it bluntly, if the fifty or more outboards continue to hover over these tarpon, they will soon alter their migration habits and there will be no more tarpon of Boca Grande.

The heat is on PTTS. Mr. Mercurio recently wrote a team is in place at the shore where the tarpon are weighed and photographed after being towed for distances of up to seven and eight hundred yards. Mercurio writes the team is present to see the fish survives. It has been documented over the years that after each tournament slaughter dead egg filled females are found either washed ashore or floating interestingly without the required tarpon tag.
Many supporters of PTTS take the position the resource is public and for everyone’s use. If the PTTS continues, there will be no resource for the public.

I own a Yamaha outboard. If the PTTS is not stopped, I will never own another Yamaha product not will I drink another Miller product or step foot into one of the boats manufactured by a boat sponsor or any other product or service associated with a sponsor of the PTTS. Many concerned people, not just tarpon fisher people, feel the same way. Do the right thing for the future of the tarpon fishery at Boca Grande. Say good bye to Joe Mercurio and Gary Ingman’s PTTS.

Our letter to the PTTS and its Sponsors

It has come to our attention, in an attempt to do “damage control,” Joe Mercurio, spokesman for the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS), has contacted the tournament sponsors, affiliates and participants to inform them of our cause.

The following is the email from Joe Mercurio:

Dear PTTS Competitors, Fans, Family and Friends,
As you may know, there is a group of individuals that are directly attacking not only our organization but the content of all our characters. If we could band together by professionally refuting these false claims based on untruths and propaganda, we could stand up for our rights and work toward ending this problem once and for all.
As we continue to discover misleading material, we will be sending all of our members emails that include links to the derogatory postings on Facebook, YouTube, News Media sites etc. to make it quick and easy for you to flag or make a quick professional comment to help defend and uphold our integrity. (Please find  3 links below)
Please share with your friends and family as the more people we have behind us the better.
In order to make posting on YouTube you must have an account. For your convenience a link to create a YouTube account can be found on the bottom of this email. It is quick and easy to set up and should not take more than a minute. Thanks again!
Below are a few key bullet points about issues our tournament values:
�         Circle hooks are required
�         Release teams are in place specifically to ensure the fish are healthy
�         A minimum of 50lb main line is required to reduce fight times
�         If on the rare occasion that a fish is not hooked in the mouth it is disqualified promptly

A response from one our founding members:

Mr. Mercurio, Mr. Ingman, and Mr. Mize,

Please let us be very clear about what the Save The Tarpon movement is about.  This is not an argument about whether or not jigs snag fish. What happens under the water in this regard is a heated topic and we each hold to our own convictions as to whether or not the fish are snagged.  This however is not where most of the contention lies for the members of the Save The Tarpon movement. We have made no accusations or claims about what happens on the business end of the fishing line, but rather about what happens in plain view of each and every one of us who frequent Boca Grande Pass.  It is obvious from your “key bullet issues” that you have not taken the time to consider what Save The Tarpon is actually about. What type of hook you use or the breaking strength of your fishing line is of no consequence to us. So before you jump to conclusions please take the time to read this letter from one of our founding members, and yes Mr. Mercurio you are correct…this is a direct attack on the content of your character as well as that of Gary Ingman, Gary Mize, and others who profit off of the destruction of a valuable and precious public resource:

The relentless, high speed, hyper-agressive pursuit of Tarpon in Boca Grande Pass portrayed during the PTTS events has carried over to much more than just tournament day.  These techniques are obviously disruptive and destructive, and the fish handling after the catch can only be described as deplorable by even the novice angler.  It is well documented that high speed boat operation of this magnitude has a profound negative effect on the habits of fish during pre-spawn rituals. You also will find volumes of scientific data by numerous respected marine scientists, both private and state sponsored, that indicates that the way in which the fish are gaffed, dragged by the lower draw, what is at times a considerable distance, and hoisted into the air drastically decreases its chance of survival no matter how skilled or caring your “release teams” are.  For an organization who is so quick to use science to defend their actions, the PTTS sure falls short in this aspect. It should be clear to viewers that the actions taken by the PTTS to ensure higher TV ratings and profits would be illegal in the state of Florida would it not be  for the kill tag inserted into the Tarpon.  This is not a “temporary possesion until later released” tag, but is rather a tag meant to be  permanently affixed to the fish designating your intent to harvest the fish.  The state of Florida and its biologists have made it very clear through both increased regulations and several public memos that handling Tarpon in these ways will very often lead to the death of the fish.  The glorification of the “weigh in photo” in the television series has lead to the wholesale slaughter of tarpon outside tournament time as viewers who travel to Boca Grande after watching the show demand their shot holding a soon-to-be-dead Tarpon as well.  It takes only moments online to find literally dozens of recent examples posted by many members of the PTTS.

Let us also not forget that the Tarpon fishery of Boca Grande is a gift of nature to be treasured and enjoyed be each and every one of us.  The actions and techniques portrayed, or rather glorified, on the PTTS television series have over run their bounds of simply a three to six hour, once weekly tournament and are now a seven day a week problem.  No other fishing style employed for Tarpon, not just at Boca Grande but all Tarpon fisheries, specifically excludes others from their pursuit of these fish.  It is often said that this is a conflict between two user groups, or an overcrowding problem.  It is neither.

Those that frequent the pass not just during a few weeks in May and June, but rather year round, will tell you that it is wonderful to see many more boats than the numbers participating in PTTS working together in harmony, using fishing tactics as varied as the individuals themselves at many times throughout the year as well as at times other than when the “pack” is present.  Those same people will tell you that should you attempt to employ any technique other than those portrayed in the tournament just about any morning in May or June, you are simply a fool.  Not only will the actions of the “pack” have a negative impact on your success, but often the boats will intentionally step up their already agressive actions in order to intimidate or frustrate other anglers.  Is this level of disrespect what the sponsors have in mind when they plaster their names and websites along the sides of the boats whos operators are treating fellow fishermen this way?

To make matters worse, the mentality fostered and supported by the PTTS and its participants is spilling over to other areas of fishing and at other times. Few now are the days of many boats of all different styles and sizes working in harmony while the fish peacefully move offshore in the evenings.  We now must contend with the same “wrap boats,” as they have come to be known, frantically rushing around at high speed on top of the fish in shallow water, much to the dismay of those who cherish these moments that were already exceedingly rare.  Even a small number of these mini “packs” can make quick work of disbanding an otherwise ‘happy group of fish?’ Gone are the mornings when the quiet march of boats up and down the beaches carefully navigate amongst each other as each vie for their opportunity to toss a bait or fly to the holy grail of beach Tarpon fishing, the daisy chain!  The beaches are now run amuck with a parade of brightly colored sponsored boats flying up and down the beach or across the harbor, the thought of their negative impact on others fishing the area not even a flicker in the minds of their operators.

These are not issues pertaining to the number of boats or their fishing style, but rather to the respect of their operators for both other anglers and the fish themselves. These actions are not carried out by all PTTS participants nor are all those who carry out these actions participants of the PTTS.  The most unfortunate part is that these actions are not necessary for, or even conducive, to any particular type of fishing, jigging or otherwise.   That being said, this mentality has been born, bread, and raised by the PTTS to become the problem that it is today.  The negative impacts on both the fishery and the community are numerous and extensive.  These impacts are a direct result of the promotion and glorification of unethical and unacceptable behavior by the PTTS not in the name of sportsmanship, but in the name of profit. This resource belongs to all of us and is here to be enjoyed and cherished by all of us.  It is not here to be exploited by Gary Ingman, Gary Mize, and Joe Mercurio for the sake of lining their own pockets.

Who is Save The Tarpon?  Save The Tarpon is the voice of local residents, visitors, anglers, guides, parents, children, and anyone who wishes to preserve this historic fishery for generations to come through the promotion of ethical and responsible angling.  The heart of this fishery beats deep within all of us who have fallen in love with Boca Grande, residents and visitors alike.  We will not be detered by your feeble attempts to preserve your revenue stream at our expense.

Capt. Tom McLaughlin

Founding Member, SaveTheTarpon.com

To the sponsors and participants of the PTTS

Beginning tomorrow, we will start our official boycott campaign.  The campaign will consist of picking one unique sponsor each day to spotlight in the boycott.  We will create a webpage–specific to that sponsor– and explain why the public should participate in a boycott of the brand, products and/or services.   We will also actively promote this boycott in the news media, on Facebook, as well as other social-media outlets.  This boycott will remain active until you meet the following demands:

1. Permanently terminate your sponsorship of the PTTS and its affiliates, effective immediately.

2. Provide SaveTheTarpon.com with adequate evidence of this termination.

If you are able to meet the above demands, we will happily remove you from the boycott list and remove all mention of your brand on our site and Facebook page.

 

Letter to the Sponsors of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS)

Below is a copy of a letter which went out today to a few of the major sponsors of the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS).  If you have a moment, please take a moment to write some of these sponsors as well.
Dana.Metz@tiresplus.com
Don.Becker@tiresplus.com
Jeremy.Persinger@tiresplus.com
Stuart.Watterson@tiresplus.com
dale_barnes@yamaha-motor.com
ben_speciale@yamaha-motor.com
aperkinson@costadelmar.com
cmacdonald@costadelmar.com
Nehl.Horton@millercoors.com
Andrew.England@millercoors.com
rick.gomez@millercoors.com
We have written you previous emails informing you that there exists a growing public backlash against the PTTS and its highly destructive fishing and handling techniques. Today there are many, many newspaper articles being written, online sites and blogs are humming, communities are organizing, sponsors are withdrawing, petitions and bumper stickers are appearing and a plane flew a negative banner over the PTTS events. We had informed you this might grow into a real brushfire. It is starting. A boycott of your product is now being advocated. Your brand will be caught up in this whirlwind and it will not be positive for your image, nor your sales. Your brand is generally respected, but now the wider boating and fishing community is turning against you as a management, and against your product because you are supporting and thus condoning the PTTS. The controversy is becoming self sustaining.
Again we ask that you consider the consequences. If you have questions, suggestions or need more information about the real and potential damages caused by the PTTS,
Mark Futch has asked that you contact him directly. Mark Futch is the Secretary of the respected Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association.
PTTS Sponsor Boycott
Captain Mark Futch
Cell: (941) 740-0662
bgseaplane@gmail.com
www.bocagrandefishing.com