The day the man with nothing to say had nothing to say

Gary Colecchio - Southwest Regional Director of the Florida Guides Association

The Florida Sportsman Forum is usually friendly turf for Gary S. Colecchio, the man with 4,900 posts since June of last year. But it wasn’t so friendly on Sunday, Dec. 16.

It’s not often that PTTS apologist-in-chief Gary S. Colecchio, the fishing forum’s queen bee and the tallest midget in the wrap boat circus, is at a loss for words. But on Sunday, Dec. 16, history of sorts was made. Colecchio, who seldom has anything to say even when he says it, apparently realized he really doesn’t have anything to say.

Not in response to the spanking administered by a poster who goes by the screen name “White Bacon.” And certainly not in response to the interesting account of a fishing trip gone wrong written by RJ Kirker, who coincidentally goes by the screen name of “RJ Kirker.”

The posts have been formatted for our site. They appear here in their entirety. If and when Colecchio is told what to post in reply, we’ll update. If it’s anything worth updating, that is. 

Get out the popcorn and enjoy:

AUTHOR: White Bacon

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 thePTTS 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.

(RJ is writing in response to an earlier post where Gary S. Colecchio claimed Save The Tarpon was “picking” on him because Save The Tarpon feared him. In fact, RJ figured it out. Read on …)

Mr. Colecchio, I’m guessing Save The Tarpon isn’t showering you with all this attention because you’re feared by them. I think they’re doing it because they want to make you the public face of the PTTS. If so, every word you write plays into their strategy. As someone who supports the efforts of Save The Tarpon and the FWC to protect and grow our local fishery, I encourage you to keep right on posting.

Yes, Mr. Colecchio, this is my first post. I figured you would point this out based on your habit of attacking the messenger and ignoring the message. But my husband and I, both avid anglers who retired to the area a few years ago, have been following this issue very closely for reasons that are very personal. This is apparent by my “join” date. Like you, we commend the PTTS for its promise to stop gaffing and weighing these fish. It’s a good start. Promises can be broken, however. By creating a sport fish designation and ending possession, the FWC is doing the right thing by making the PTTS promise official.

We joined Save The Tarpon for the very reason you’ve been advocating throughout this thread. Public access. You say you don’t fish the Pass, so you really don’t know what is happening there in May and June. We can no longer fish when the PTTS holds its tournaments. It’s a small sacrifice, but considering your view on this issue it’s one no angler should be forced to make. I read where the PTTS describes the situation during its tournaments as “chaos.” That’s an understatement.

We made the mistake of hooking up while leisurely drifting a hundred yards or so from where a pod of PTTS boats was circling and swarming. They obviously noticed. Within 30 seconds we were surrounded. Our line was run over and cut, and someone on a loud speaker was demanding we get out of “their” way. A boat with “law enforcement” on its side was standing off and witnessed what was happening to us. The officer on board looked the other way and did nothing.

We eventually escaped, but the lesson was learned. It was unlike anything we had ever experienced in all our years on the water. I honestly feared my husband was going to have a heart attack unless I beat him to it. This was supposed to be a leisurely morning of fishing.

I later went online and emailed the tournament to describe what had happened. I received a terse unsigned reply telling me the PTTS was “licensed” by the state to conduct these tournaments and that recreational anglers and their boats were obligated to yield or risk prosecution. Yet you have the gall to suggest Save The Tarpon is out to exclude others? Mr. Colecchio, you need a reality check.

Save The Tarpon got two new members as a result of what happened to us that day. We also learned we weren’t alone, that many others just like us were turning to the group for help. As it’s obvious the PTTS will only change its ways unless its back is to the wall, this appears to be the only solution. No group is perfect, but these people are the best hope we have at the moment.

So help them out and please keep posting.

NON-RESPONSE: Gary S. Colecchio


AUTHOR: White Bacon

Captain Gary,

Man, so glad you couldn’t resist. Tell us again, based on the allegations cited in this thread, how the tarpon gutting can be logically explained? Option one: The PTTS did it. Option two: The STT sympathizers did it (although implausible).

Please, please give your superior explanation, so us dumb hicks can understand. Thanks.

NON-RESPONSE: Gary S. Colecchio

“Must be a boring day in Matlache.”

AUTHOR: White Bacon

Or Boca Grande. So I’m assuming you have no credible explanation? Didn’t Joe send you the talking points? I think you’re slipping. Say it ain’t so……..

NON-RESPONSE: Gary S. Colecchio

(There was no response.)

AUTHOR: White Bacon

Captain Gary,

I really have missed the forums, and the verbal combat with you. Some of us in the real world rely on anecdotal and circumstantial evidence, absent applicable physical evidence or scientific evidence, which you often cite and rely on.

I don’t need a study to confirm the government spends too much, that there are currently 150 snook under my dock, or that you continually promulgate irrelevant arguments, always relying on your superior intellect and writing skills to deflect from the real issues.

It’s not surprising at all that you cower when challenged. Make sure you and Joe get your stories straight, I’d hate to impeach your credibility further.


  1. STT Contrib says

    Please. Say it’s not true. Gary, please say you haven’t left us again. Please tell us you haven’t fallen into the well. We’ll send Timmy and Lassie and Grandpa to rescue you. Gary? Gary?

  2. White Bacon says

    Posted today on Florida Sportsman Forum:

    Amazing how this thread again reverted to the jig discussion.

    From 1910-1990 Boca Grande pass tarpon fishing was civil, and enjoyable. In the early-to-mid 1990’s, jig fisherman started the long downward spiral towards the untenable place we find ourselves today.

    I started fishing the pass in 1984. I’m thinking there aren’t many posters here who can say that. I spent 10 summers in BGP in a row, working for spending money in between semesters of high school and college. I worked for every legendary (live bait) guide alive, and some now deceased. For the last 17 summers, I’ve sometimes free-lanced as a mate, guide, and spent tens of thousands in entry fees competing in legitimate skill tarpon tournaments. I don’t have the longevity of some, but I’m guessing I’ve spent at least 1500 days tarpon fishing in BGP. My captain/team/boat has been on the trophy and tee-shirt as early as 1987 and as late as 2011.

    In the working years, I caught squirrel fish, seined mutton minnows, and twisted wire leaders between tides. One of my haywire twists, on No.7 piano wire, is in the Smithsonian. I dipped shrimp (at night) and pass crabs on spring tides. I built bait pens, sanded, painted and varnished my wooden boat, and respected the fishery. I wired 11 tarpon in three hours once with wire leaders and mutton minnows, on an incoming neap tide. I wired 13 once with my best friend in 3 hours, switching the rod every drift with him, and the helm, with our girlfriends in tow. That best friend is perhaps the finest fisherman that’s ever graced BGP. Not bites, not jumped, not short drifted, not snagged. We fished with 80lb dacron, No. 7 wire, and we caught the living crap out of them. Any idiot can claim “25 fish” on a hill tide. It will always be an exaggeration. Been there, done it, and 13 is the record within a 3 hour window…………wired and landed.

    I say all this to say that I’m qualified to speak to the issues. Maybe not a scientific expert like Gary, but qualified.

    Despite what Gary protests, jigging is harmful to both the fish, the fishery, and the anglers. Jigging, and the tactics and behaviors exhibited are destructive and reprehensible. Jigging isn’t sporting, which is the largest indictment. Running through the woods, dressed in NASCAR shirts, with Uzi’s, bazooka’s, and hand grenades to kill deer wouldn’t be well received in much of America. Jigging, snagging, short-drifting, and rude behavior wasn’t well received in Boca Grande. Duh.

    Gary C and other insist this is a dollars-and-cents issue. Nonsense. The last 20 legitimate “live-bait” guides fishing from inboard 24′ Morgans aren’t about to make or break the economy of Boca Grande. It’s bizarre that an intelligent Gary C would continue to argue this. It’s the fishery stupid.

    I warned on this forum that regulation would neuter the PTTS. Done. I’ve warned that I will run over any NASCAR PTTS wrapped boat anywhere in Charlotte Harbor. Any jigger sitting still in a pot-hole, wherever you are, when you see that Maverick rooster tail on your console and all over your idiot customers – please know it’s me.

  3. Paul says

    Waste 5 minutes of your life googling “Gary S. Colecchio”…….that fucker is EVERYWHERE! Colecchio has never met a submit button that he didn’t like.

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