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
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.


  1. Roy Merritt says

    I have been in the pass during these tournaments . The jig fishers are a danger to themselves and anyone else in the pass. They seem to disregard common courtesy or any care for the fish. Watching this spectacle brings only one thing to mind. Follow the money.

  2. Rick Hirsch says

    Thank you Norm Cannella. Direct accountability for corporate sposors is exactly what we need more of in this effort, and other efforts in the country today. BOYCOTT YAMAHA, MILLER BEER, REACTOR WATCHES, and COSTA DEL MAR and all other sponsors until we know for sure they have terminated their advertising support for PTTS. Randy Wayne White started the ball rolling when he publicly withdrew. But more important was his reason ….that advertising “support equals condonining” the horrible practices. I believe that the larger companies do not know yet that the PTTS is killing fish. We have directly informed them twice Now is the time for more stringent action. Thank you Norm Cannella.

  3. Logan Totten says

    It is just a shame because these fish were already getting harassed enough when they just had the mens tournament on Sundays. Now they have a lady’s day on Saturdays then mens on Sundays every weekend of the tournament. Not even mentioning the championship at the end of the year where the boats are allowed to gaff and weigh two fish in one tournament. So if 20 boats weigh two fish that is 40 fish being weighed gaffed and drug across Boca Grande Pass. Disgusting too think about. When is it going to stop?

  4. Bruce Byrd says

    Dear Mr. Speciale,

    I am in the process of having my dream skiff built and I think the Yamaha F70 would be the perfect match for my new boat. I’ve been for a test ride on the same model skiff equipped with the F70 and really like the power to weight and quiet operation. Unfortunately, I can not, in good conscience, purchase any Yamaha product as long as the company continues to support the Professional Tarpon Tour. As a result, I have told my builder to spec my boat with an E-Tec 60. I just wanted to let you know about the sale you have lost based upon your sponsorship decision.
    Bruce Byrd

  5. says

    Norman, very well said and I am turning my attention to the sponsors also. Thank you to Randy Wayne White for being the FIRST to step forward and PULL the FUNDS from the PTTS.

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