During my fishing career, people have always told me what I can’t do. Yet when I look back, I’ve accomplished almost everything I set out to do. In seven years at Walker’s Cay in the Bahamas, the Barta Blue Marlin Classic — with more than 70 sponsors and 125 boats — raised more than $1 million for the IGFA Junior Angler Program. The Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament in Beaufort, North Carolina, has now raised more than $700,000, well on its way to a goal of $1 million.
Today, I propose the Treasure Cay Barta Blue Marlin Classic, a dead-bait blue marlin release tournament.
This Bahamas event will promote the same values as all Barta tournaments: truth, integrity and honor. It will be family-oriented — no lie-detector tests and no battery of attorneys necessary. The entry fee of $500 will cover your food and all activities, and Treasure Cay is offering us fabulous rates at dockage.
But most important, this event will be an honor‑scoring, your-word-is-your-bond, 100-percent-release tournament. Pro, amateur and senior divisions will be instituted, along with two categories for kids, trophies for game fish, and small-boat and outboard divisions too.
Several lawsuits are in the courts today concerning Calcutta kill tournaments for billfish. Barta tournaments are structured differently. We offer no cash prizes. Instead, there is only the greatest prize of all: a pat on the back, a handshake, and a trophy from peers whom you respect and trust.
One-hundred percent of all the monies made at our live auction will go to charity, and Treasure Cay is the perfect location, laying out the red carpet that will allow this tournament to grow.
At our old event at Walker’s, junior anglers no older than 12 caught 82 percent of the billfish. We found that with patience and light drags, kids could catch these fish all day long — and they did. We’re anticipating the same at the Treasure Cay event.
Because Barta tournaments offer no cash prizes, you wouldn’t expect the finest blue marlin fishermen in the world to come. But the opposite has been true! My tournaments have always attracted the best-of-the-best, from Africa, Guatemala, Australia and even England.
I’m promoting an all-release, honor-scoring, no-Calcutta, dead-bait tournament because, quite simply, our kids have lost the skill of rigging dead baits — and our fishing community has largely lost the ability to pass on integrity and honor. I don’t need cameras and pictures to prove that I caught and released a fish! My word is my bond, and I want to teach kids that honor and trust are the two most valued assets they will ever possess. At this event, if you say you caught it and released it, we take your word.
I live by these three statements:
- Nothing is more important than the way we treat each other.
- Families who hunt and fish together stay together.
- Never, never, never give up!
I know that people either love me or hate me. I accept that. But if you appreciate what I stand for and my message, then consider fishing this tournament. We plan to hold it in June (a great time of year for mahi and billfish), and we’ll be able to accommodate 160 boats.
The tournament is up to you, though. If the response is overwhelming, we will hold the tournament. If it’s not, I’ll take it for what it is.
Of course, I’m always optimistic. I might be paralyzed from my chest down from my fight with blood cancer, and I might be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life — but I’m bullish that this tournament will become one of my life’s greatest accomplishments.
Give us a call at 970-328-5509 or drop us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Till next tide,
Capt. Tred Barta