For the first quarter of 2018 we partnered with our good friends down in Florida at Bonefish Tarpon Trust. April in the Keys is the start of the Tarpon migration, and Off Grid Founder, Spencer Trippe, BTT Managing Director Dr. Aaron Adams, and Captain Bear Holeman teamed up as a part of the Trippe’s Invitational Tarpon Series fly fishing tournament to tag Tarpon for BTT research. Andrew O’neill from Freeflow Outdoors was also along to film and photograph a fish receiving a tag.
BTT Mission: “To conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats through research, stewardship, education and advocacy.”
BTT has tagged around 55 Tarpon in the last 18 months, and are beginning to receive information back as data is collected from various receiving oints. A fish tagged in 2017 as part of the tournament was located in Chesapeake Bay in mid October, unusually north for the time of year. It will be interesting to analyze and see what comes of more data as it gets returned to BTT. The data will be used in a variety of efforts to enforce current regulations in place by FWC and also to encourage new protections for habitat, spawning grounds, and recreational activity that is harmful to feeding environments, and much more. Tarpon are a key part of both the marine environments of the southern U.S., as well as the economy. Supporting groups like BTT is helping provide the much needed science to help study the many impacts humans have on their environment, and what needs, or does not need to be changed.
As part of the tournament and as a part of our 2018 Q1 conservation donation, we decided to gift a BTT “conservation” level membership to the winner of the tournament. Congratulations to Caroline Smith of Traverse City, Michigan on catching her first tarpon on the fly, to being the first female angler ever in the 12 years of the history of the tournament, and congrats on laying the beat down on all of the guys for the win! We hope you are hooked on saltwater fishing and do expect you to return next year to defend your title!
Big thanks to all of the other sponsors who helped fund the tags, the tagging boat, and supporting the tournament: Sage Fly Rods, Tibor Reels, Rio fly lines, Tito’s Vodka, Smith Optics, The Angling Company, and all of the guides who put in hard work to find the fish. We cant wait to see where the fish from this years tagging efforts go, and what they tell us.