In a lifetime of hunting and fishing around the world, I have seen incredible atrocities committed against wildlife for the sake of hedonistic pleasure. In Alaska I remember finding 17 black bear carcasses piled up with only select organs removed. This needless slaughter was to fulfill an Asian demand for products purported to enhance the male libido.
Across Africa I have seen elephant carcasses left to rot after poachers removed their ivory. Many rhinos meet the same fate, slaughtered only for their horn. On the water I have watched Japanese, Russian and other foreign commercial fishing operations decimate local fish populations off our very own coast with helicopters, trawlers and factory ships.
In Guatemala my eyes watered as I watched dump trucks being overloaded with yellowfin tuna — all would ultimately end up in the air en route to their final destination across the Pacific. As a sportsman and conservationist, such inhumanity makes me sick.
Now, the Florida Keys are under attack.
The Chinese are behind the ploy. Asian seafood buyers have declared a monopoly on the local lobster trade and pay up to $15.00 or more per pound for every intact live lobster they can get their hands on. The result is that nearly every lobsterman in the Keys is now selling their catch to Asian buyers who are waiting at the dock with specialized transport trucks. The crustaceans are treated like royalty, and flown first class to China the very same day where the live lobster ultimately fetch more than 10 times the price paid.
With this new demand, the increasing number of lobster buoys in some areas across the Keys is downright dangerous. You can forget about running at night.
Additionally, as a local resident or visiting tourist, unless you catch the lobster yourself, enjoying the delicacy is becoming financially out of reach.
Understand, that I am in no way pointing the blame at commercial lobstermen. I believe that commercial fishing in many ways is the heartbeat of America. I know firsthand how hard it is to make a living at sea. My son is a commercial fisherman in North Carolina. He works harder than any man I know, doing his best to carve out a meager living for his family while constantly being choked by flawed rules and regulations.
I’ll also say that I am not a fan of, nor am I afraid of, criticizing the National Marine Fisheries Service. In my opinion, the organization has done a poor job of protecting our fragile fisheries. It has proven to be inefficient and corrupt.
Sadly, it’s often the trillions of dollars we owe foreign governments that influence the legislation behind protecting our very own precious resources. And when it comes to the commercial lobster fishery across the Florida Keys, you can bet Chinese markets have more power than our very own government.
I love America and everything this great country stands for, yet how can we hide in the shadows and allow another fishery to be decimated in front of our very eyes? It will be a happy day for all of us when Chinese witch doctors realize that lionfish is the new Viagra.
As I look back at my life as if I was on my deathbed, I truly believe I have done more good than bad. It is true that I have raised a lot of money for people in need. But saying that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have been a good person, true and honest my entire life. I have certainly tried always to be.
I have made some great mistakes when it comes to marriage, when it comes to women in general.
But no matter how these relationships may have turned out in life, they represent some of the best times I have ever spent in my life.
I believe in the institution of marriage and always have. And now later in life, exploring more deeply than ever the word of God in the Bible, as well as my relationship with Christ, I value the institution of marriage even more.
No man is an island. It is my way of saying if you catch the largest Swordfish swimming in the ocean and if it is not shared with friends, than it might have well as not actually have happened. Because the value of the love a man and woman share in marriage and the value that one has with family and friends, aside from your relationship with God, is perhaps what life is actually itself.
So it is I would like to announce that I will be married to Dorothy Stathis at 5:00 PM aboard Makaira at World Wide Sportsman Marina this Saturday.
We will be married by Pastor Tony Hammon from Island Christian Church which Dorothy and I are members of the congregation.
I love Dorothy, she loves me. We both love the ocean and harvesting God’s creation.
Dorothy is a true believer and it can be witnessed in her everyday life.
Many people who know me well have said “Tred, everyone deserves to be happy and that includes you.”
So it is with great humility that I share this great day with you and ask that you would see Dorothy with kind and loving hands.
Never give up, never say never and never miss the opportunity to help someone else in need.
Thank you for letting me share this great moment with you.
Below are pictures of my lovely bride to be.
By Tred Barta
In September of 2016 President Obama declared by Executive Order that 5,000 square miles, approximately the size of Connecticut, laying 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod would be an aquatic national park.
In this Executive Order, he claimed that no commercial fishing would be allowed and that sport fishing could continue, but the future of sport fishing would be determined by the Department of Commerce. This proclamation was not based on science but was based on political payback.
This area on the continental shelf lies around Oceanographers, Lydonia, and Gilbert Canyons. Almost immediately upon this proclamation President Obama went after the Hudson, Wilmington, and Washington Canyons and had plans to proceed down the East Coast in the future all the way to Florida.
Let me give you some facts that should scare the hell out of you.
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that the condition of this area is under any threat whatsoever from commercial and sports fishing. In fact this area has been fished for over 50 years. The area, as most of the Continental Shelf between Maine and Florida, is rich in red crab, squid, swordfish, yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna, albacore, and lobster. The radical left environmentalists such as The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club, Oceana, and The Pew Charitable Trusts claims that the Aquatic National Park is extremely sensitive to any disturbance by man. By the way, these conservancy groups also say this is true of the entire Continental Shelf from Maine to Florida. Accusations of hurting whales, porpoises, birds, and other marine life all the way down to 3,000 feet and beyond is not true.
Last year 800,000 pounds of lobster were harvested from this area. It is as pristine today as it was 50 years ago. It is a fact that Obama has seized more land than any other president in history, putting his environmental legacy ahead of jobs, using evidence-free reasons. This Executive Order (Proclamation Decree) will immediately put into jeopardy about 10,000 jobs. The trickledown effect will put countless families and their livelihoods at risk.
Although Obama allowed sport fishing to continue, his Executive Order (Proclamation Decree) took the power and the legislative process away from NOAA, National Marine Fisheries (NMF), and ICCAT and gave it to the Department of Commerce, which has no right or business determining the future of sports fishing. What ex-President Obama did was unconscionable. What he did was immoral. I have been fighting very hard for President Trump to strike down with one stroke of his pen this Executive Order. Ex-President Obama used the Antiquities Act of 1916 to circumvent Congress and the legislative process to work.
If everyone in Florida thinks this is not important, just think how you would feel one day that fishing on the Islamorada Hump or the 409 Hump was deemed unfishable and it was declared a National Park.
It is an unmitigated fact that radical conservation groups are anti-hunting and anti-fishing. It is also an unmitigated fact that leftwing environmental groups are using the Continental Shelf Aquatic National Park as an opportunity to raise millions upon millions to put in the war chest to defeat Republican causes in the future. As a man dedicated to sport fishing for my entire life, I can tell you that commercial fishing is not the problem, the environmentalists are the problem.
The newly appointed Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, is a good guy. He has done a lot in a short time for people who hunt and fish. Ryan Zinke needs to walk into the White House with me, educate President Trump and strike this legislation down. It is as easy as that.
If you are a charter boat fishermen or recreational fishermen, what I tell you above should be of great concern.
My new book “Driven” describes a lot of my early exploration in the Northeast Canyons. It is a must-read for those of you who want to learn about what is going on in this issue but it also describes in detail the communities in which it affects.
Fishing legislation, whether it is sport fishing or commercial fishing, is supposed to be based on science. It is not based on politics. The word preservation basically means no access. The word conservation means suitable use of the natural resource so that it is sustainable. We cannot have a Department of Commerce making decisions with no science. The process of having the science, bringing it to Congress, having input from all parties and then making decisions based on this science I support and so should you. Having the future of our sport being determined by an endrun Executive Order is an insult to the American people and must be stopped.
Please write your Congressman, please write Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and I beg you to ask for an immediate meeting with Captain Tred Barta.
If I can get to Zinke, I can get to President Trump and I can defeat this travesty with one signature from President Trump. One XO.
I beg you to take this seriously, and I don’t beg very often.
By the way, my new book “Driven” can be bought through Bartaway.com.
It follows my life step-by-step and shares some of the most adventuresome stories on the 100 fathom line that you could ever imagine. It also shares the horror of being paralyzed from my chest down.
Until Next Tide,
Captain Tred Barta
Tred Barta is an American hunter, fisherman, and outdoorsman who hosts “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta” on the Versus Channel. As a fisherman, Barta has amassed several world records, some still current. Barta experienced spinal stroke and cancer in 2009, leaving him paralyzed from the armpits down. However, Barta continues to hunt and fish as he did before the accident. Overcoming limitations and fears is part of “The Barta Way.” To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
Last weekend I picked myself up out of the dust and had a great day fishing for Mangrove Snapper in the backcountry aboard ‘Makaira’.
This weekend celebrating the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ and what he did for mankind.
Dorothy and I will attend sunrise service on the beach in Islamorada and then later in the day we will have an Easter dinner with friends.
Christianity is under attack around the World. I urge all who are believers do not be afraid to wear their belief on their lapel. When eating out at a restaurant I often say a short prayer before dinner.
We live in very liberal times wherein traditions and beliefs are often under attack by those who believe in nothing and contribute little to our society. I am not one of those people and for the most part the people who I associate with are not either.
I hope everyone has a peaceful and fun Easter and let us not forget what Easter holiday is all about.
I have tomorrow off. It will be very windy for the next 6 days and I hope to search the waters of the backcountry for everything it offers. It takes 6 skilled people to take me scuba diving. It is not pretty but as incredible as it is, I do it. There is a good chance I may go this weekend.
Your Friend, Tred
It was with great hope that yesterday would turn out to be a life changing day with the implant surgery along the ulnar nerve to alleviate the pain in my right hand. As it turned out the entire procedure was a failure and the surgery and the implant was never even completed due to the fact that I could not withstand the pain threshold I was placed in to allow the surgery to continue. I was partially drugged during the procedure with 11 people in the operating room.
Both of my shoulders have been compromised from years of shooting the longbow. That, in addition to the fact that my bicep was torn off the bone and reattached a couple of years ago made for an almost impossible recipe for success.
I consider myself a fairly tough guy but I could not hold the line. I am demoralized and quite disappointed in myself. I personally have never felt such pain in such a concentrated area in my life so far.
Plans for trying this again are in the future, placing my body in a better position. Of course when I woke up this morning I am asking myself, “Why could I not have held the line against the pain I was feeling?” And the truth unfortunately comes down to only one thing, and that is my weakness. It is not a pretty thing to say about oneself.
On the basis of “Never give up, never say never” I will obviously try this again.
I thank everyone for their support. Another day, another adventure.
Not every day is a good one, but that does not mean every day is not great.
For those who believe, greatness will come and it will come sooner rather than later.
This Saturday the ocean was flat and after loading Makaira for a Swordfish adventure my heart sunk when the boat would not start.
I was invited by the owner of the 36 ft. Luhrs called “The Solutions” which was to be captained by Billy Chapman for the day. We made a total of 4 drifts. The first 2 we had extremely aggressive bites and couldn’t hook up, the 3rd drift we got skunked and the 4th had about 1650 ft. We hooked up to what I consider to be a very big fish. After a fairly aggressive two-hour battle, we got a good look at him on the surface. I estimated the Swordfish at 385 lbs., this was a real nice one, with the wind-on leader on the reel with two gaff men ready, the hook pulled. There’s that sinking feeling that all of us have experienced when a monster buck doesn’t offer us a shot from our tree stand or, when the big fish has been lost. It’s kind of also like when a girlfriend gives you a “Dear John” letter. I would like to thank the crew of “The Solutions” for having me as a guest.
On Thursday I go for a new cutting edge technology operation on my hand. I must admit I am very apprehensive about this operation. I hope it works! If it does, it would be a life changer.
Wishing everyone a good day and don’t forget one thing; if you want to buy the best book you’ve ever read, go to www.bartaway.com and order my new book “DRIVEN”! Everybody that’s what you call a plug.
If you are a believer, please send a prayer my way for the upcoming operation.
When the wind has not been blowing 15 to 20 knots here in the Florida Keys lately it has been blowing 25 to 30.
One front after another has hampered blue water fishing.
In a classic thread the needle operation yesterday, I was invited by Tom and Billy Chapman with mate Eric to take the 25 mile offshore run in quest of a swordfish.
By evening it was to blow 30 knots and we had a very small envelope to pull the trip off.
We left at 6:30 AM and on our last drift hooked and fought a swordfish to the gaff. Although the sword was not a monster, every morsel will be eaten.
This morning I am paying dues, but knowing how much I hurt it is always worth it and it always will be.
A great crew did a great job getting it done.
I believe I was the only paraplegic T-4 Asia A in a wheelchair way offshore yesterday. It felt great!
Wanted to share this with you.
Have a great weekend.
Been working hard fighting some pretty tough health issues, there is a bad stomach flu going around The Keys.
I have been fighting hard for sport fishermen’s and commercial fishermen’s rights.
The inner reef fishing and deep water bottom fishing has been on fire. The Captains at World Wide Sportsman Marina, Bud N’ Mary’s Marina and the Postcard Marina are continually bringing in great catches. It’s a game of being a true professional, knowing the water temperature, the right tide and having a lifetime worth of exact coordinates for bottom structure. In this particular discipline compared to the lifetime captains of the Florida Keys, I am an unequivocal novice.
The tarpon are showing up more and more everyday and there are reports of decent mullet runs which are the forerunner of the tarpon. There have been several migrating blue fin tuna that have been spotted in 120 to 200 feet of water. These are 400 to 500 pound fish trucking north.
I am going to be working on my unanswered private messages this week so I ask for your patience.
Take a look at these pictures, they will make you smile.
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