April 13th: 9th Annual Ms. Wheelchair Colorado Pageant & Benefit Car Show
April 13th: Outdoor Buddies Fundraiser Banquet @ the Wildlife Experience
May 10th: Kiowa Creek Sporting Club. Clay shoot for Craig Rehab
June 8th: Get Outdoors Colorado Denver City Park, Colorado
June 8th: Wild on Wheels Lakewood, Colorado
July 18-20th: Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament Beaufort, NC
August 8-11th: No Barriers USA Summit in Telluride, Colorado
10/01/10 Pathetic Political Correctness
Sport Fishing Magazine
FOR THE RECORD
Pathetic Political Correctness
By Tred Barta
ON A RECENT FISHING TRIP TO FISH THE PACIFIC, I met a lovely family of four-mom, dad, 10-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter who came so each might catch his or her first billfish. The fishing was consistent but admittedly not red-hot. Dad tagged and released his first black marlin about 400 pounds and both mom and daughter released their first sails. I was thrilled for this family. They were vivacious, and their love for each other permeated the entire lodge.
Around noon on their last day, the family returned to the dock early with a dead marlin. It had come to the boat tail-wrapped and couldn't be revived. As the mates rolled the magnificent billfish down the dock to the weigh scale, it was like the bubonic plague had hit the lodge. "Oh my God! A dead marlin!" someone shouted.
The 10-year-old boy ran up the dock, jumped onto my lap in the wheelchair, wrapped both arms around me and said, "Tred, I did it, my first marlin! But really ... I didn't mean to kill the fish!" Tears streamed down his face.
Truth be told, not many people outwardly celebrated his catch. I was ticked off. No, I was outraged. I called the family over and we had a talk.
"Number one, young man, you are responsible for the killing of that marlin. That's a risk we take as fishermen every time we go out!" I explained. I also went on to tell him that as an honorable fisherman, it was his responsibility to ensure that not one ounce of the fish was wasted. And he did just that. Only a skeleton remained after distribution of the meat.
I informed him that the United States of America right under the self-righteous noses of National Marine Fisheries imports more dead billfish from around the world than any other country. I told him why- like him- i try to release all billfish and why I object to calcutta kill tournaments. There's just no reason to intentionally kill billfish. But I also took great pains to explain that sometimes your best efforts and intentions aren't enough.
As the boy's fish was hoisted on the scale, guests started to scatter. No one wanted his picture showing up somewhere with a dead marlin. That's when I went ballistic. I rolled down to the scale and proudly got in the picture with the boy. Under the "362 pounds," I added to the chalkboard, "tail-wrapped."
As I looked around at all the people passing judgment on this little boy and his first, unfortunate-circumstance fish, the entire holier-than-thou, greener-than-green, trendoid conservation movement made me sick to my stomach. Show me a hunter who has never wounded an animal and lost it, and I'll show you a liar or a man who doesn't hunt much.
In my entire fishing career, I have intentionally or accidentally killed nine marlin and 12 sailfish. I have released hundreds more in perfect health.
Every day, every minute, every second, something on land or sea is being ripped apart, bleeding and crushed and clawed in the natural ebb and flow of nature itself. Man as a species is and always will be a hunter-gatherer. Like it or not, we harvest God's creature, and plants to live. We are the apex predators of our known universe.
So, please, let's have some balance here. When you use your debit card to buy a chicken wrapped in cellophane, don't for one second doubt that you just killed a chicken by proxy. Of course, you weren't there when its neck was cut and it bled out. But make no bones about it your consumerism caused its demise. No matter what philosophy you espouse, the circle of life and death savagely and inexorably revolves every second.
I applaud my 10-yearold friend. Congratulations on your magnificent marlin. How beautiful it was to see its strength and power. Feel free to use the picture of the two of us with you fish on the Internet, on a Christmas
card or in a magazine. I was proud to be there with you.
And, to all the absolutely pathetic. politically correct, nimrod idiots who try to make a young man feel
badly about his first billfish, I say suck eggs.
Till next tide,
Capt. Tred Barta
P.S. I now celebrate a truly great career honor. I have been named fleet captain and head of Fishing Operations at Casa Vieja Lodge in Guatemala. I'm humbled. Look for new announcements and new Barta events for charity.