Tarpon gear proposal in Boca Grande Pass

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Posted by Bill bishop on 2013-05-18 06:44:40

I understand this is more of a local issue however Boca Grande is the hub of a very large wheel that effects tarpon movements statewide. The carnage that has been inflicted on tarpon in the past has gone on for almost a decade by way of a televised tournament for profit

Back in 2004 the Florida Wildlife Commission was considering restricting the use of a specific jig known as the Boca Grande Jig ( you can google pictures) due to allegations it was being manipulated to snag tarpon. The jig is a one of a kind home made device consisting of a 4oz lead head with a rubber tail and a 8/0 offset offset circle hook attached on TOP with zip ties. It is positioned below the mountain of tarpon and the boat is menueavered such that the line is perfectly verticle to the rod holder 60 feet above.

The tarpon, stacked in the pass ,shoulder to shoulder like cordwood face into the tidal flow. Tarpon have plates on each side of their faces known as maxillae or clippers. There is a deep crease between the maxillae and jaw. The verticle line slides around the lower jaw and seeds within the crease sending a tap tap up to the rod holder. A 6 to 1 high speed reel is used to race the jig upward and the hook is guided to the clipper by way of the line.

If you wish to read more about this in detail, goggle Randy Wayne Whites article involving snagging tarpon in Boca Grande.

The above mentioned expanation explains why 75 percent of the jig caught tarpon are hooked in areas other than the mouth. The preponderance of these are hooked in the clipper however others are hook in the eye,head,tail,gills throat ect. To see the numbers google The Incidence Foul Hooking Study 2002-2003 by The FWC.

In spite of the data within the study the FWC failed to act on the proposal in 2004 to stop the snagging of tarpon. This was mostly due to the testimony of two outside scientist who seemed to suggest the tarpon were not being snagged and hooked themselves while striking the lure. The fact is neither of these experts saw the completed data from the study to draw their conclusions. One were was quoted from generic off the cuff comments made via a 30 minute telephone conversation ten years ago. The other saw the study data after it was released and totally revered his opinion in the newspaper and stated, " it's my educated opinion they are snagging the fish".

Author, Randy Wayne White and I have been attempting to reach the other scientist but to no avail . finally and seperatley, on April 22, 2013 We spoke with Dr. Grubich at the Field Musuem of Natural History involving his testimony from 2004. He confirmed he had never seen the data as well. I sent him the Incidence Study for his review as well as the reversal of there other scientist involved. Dr. Grubich grew up in the Keys and aside from being a very smart and professional biologist, he is an avid fly angler. Yesterday, in the local newspaper, The Boca Beacon, he also reversed his opinion. You can goggle the Boca Beacon regarding Dr. Justin Grubich and read his five page response.

In any event, the science from both experts is now confirming snagging is and has been occurring and we go before the FWC in mid June to request it be stopped by way of adopting a proposal that will require the hook to be positioned BELOW the weight of the lure. This is similar language to a law passes in Oregon involving a method of snagging salmon.

To suggest the issue has become an emotional hot bed in Boca Grande would be an understatement. Those of you who wish to peruse the details can easily do so via the the Internet and send your opinions on to the FWC via MYFWC.com.

You can also get more info by looking up sites such as Save The Tarpon and PTTS tarpon tournament.

The problem with replacing a 70 year old tarpon is it takes 70 years.

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