The PTTS dead (err… we mean sleeping) tarpon cover-up

This video was filmed on June 17, 2012 during the Professional Tarpon Tournament Series (PTTS) Tarpon Cup Championship. Unlike all other PTTS events, no DNA samples were taken by the PTTS during this event. Here is a short explanation from a first-hand witness who was on the boat which captured this footage. For more of the story, read this.

“When I was asked to participate in the PTTS championship protest I didn’t know what to expect or what reaction I would receive from some of the PTTS participants as I had been a participant myself at one time. I expected to see some of the typical bumper boat type action the PTTS is well known for. Having not participated in the PTTS for some time now, I was completely unaware of what happens behind the scenes to the tarpon after they are weighed.

In years prior, the team that caught and weighed in a fish was responsible for reviving and releasing that fish. In my opinion, I feel the PTTS was under some pressure from the public for dead tarpon washing up on the beach the day after the tournament. The PTTS decided to use a “trained” release team to be in charge of all tarpon after they have been dragged to the scale and weighed in. I was fully aware of their new policy, what I was not aware of however was the blatant disregard for the tarpon once the release team took possession.

What we filmed that day was a total lack of respect for the the tarpon that were to be released. The PTTS crews were not happy about us filming their actions that day and they did their best to cover up the dead tarpon they were dumping by having other PTTS boats wake our boat. This is what happens at the PTTS behind the scenes.”


  1. says

    Release Team? More like “hide a dead tarpon team.” If the PTTS was doing everything they could to revive a tarpon and release it alive then why do they need……1 boat to revive a fish, 1 boat to block the view from the people watching, and another boat to throw a wake/ block the view again? Again if they were doing everything they could to revive the tarpon then there should be no issue……right? And we all know that with ANY fish, more than 5 minutes of revival time and hope is lost. I was there and watched this go on about 7 or 8 times during their event. Let alone the 2 fish that washed up on the beach…….one of which was gutted(front to back in a perfect line) obviously from a knife…..not a shark…..unless the sharks of Boca Grande have learned to use a fork and knife!

  2. Save the TarponCapt. Chris Frohlich says

    This video was shot from my boat during the final PTTS event last year. There seems to be some confusion as to what is going on in the video. This is a three minute segment showing only the end of the dead release of a tournament fish. This fish was weighed in. We thought it appropriate to cut out the 45 minute segment of the fish being dragged from the scale to the final resting place that you see in the video. Too lengthy, and to be honest, pathetic to watch. But rest assured, the video certainly exists.

    The video opens with a shot of a dying tarpon on the beach. For the sake of clarification let me say that the normal release effort during a tournament is drag and dump next to the beach. It is why fish actually end up on the beach like the one on the video. The day started off with regular release efforts. Once it became apparent that the normal method of “release” wasn’t camera friendly, the release team started dragging away from the beach before letting the fish sink.

    This is not some “conservation minded effort” that you see occurring. This is not how fish normally get released. This entire effort was for one reason only: Too many people on the beach got to see first hand what a tournament weighed fish looked like once they were “released.” It slowly died on the beach. Indeed, the reason we are getting “waked” and run around in the photo is so that the fish gets covered up in foam and we are unable to see it sink with our cameras. Notice the boats going in hard reverse to create more prop wash. And no, this is not to “scare away sharks.” Also notice the coordination between the boats interfering with our cameras and the timing of the “release.” Music blaring, high fives, boat wakes, bikinis, booze, and a dead tarpon… All perfectly timed. Its like white trash poetry in motion.

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