Sportfishing Digest — March 2005
By Capt. Patrick Sciacca

Forever Tred
Love him or hate him, Tred Barta is one sportfishing personality who is what he says and says what he means.

 More of this Feature

• Part 1: Tred Barta
• Part 2: Tred Barta

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• Sportfishing Digest Index

Is he genuine or a jackass?

Depending on whom you ask, either, both, or some more colorful phraseology may be elicited from the mouths of anglers when the name of Long Island, New York, native Tred Barta is brought up in cockpit conversation. A well-known figure in the world of sportfishing, he’s the kind of guy who stirs the pot because he speaks his mind. For example: “I don’t like circle hooks.” “The IGFA has its own agenda.” “Fly fishing is just another way to present a bait. This thing about fly fishermen being holier than everyone else is a bunch of horsepucky.” It’s this kind of frankness that has landed this angler, author (he has a long-running column in Sport Fishing magazine), and adventurer his own TV show, The Best and Worst of Tred Barta, airing on the Outdoor Life Network (www.olntv.com). And just like his column, this recently launched show is drawing attention and attracting viewers who want to learn about angling and some who wonder what he’ll say or do next.

For instance, a recent episode which displayed Barta repeatedly beating a tuna into submission had hardcore anglers cheering and PETA members jeering. “I got, like, 2,000 letters on that show,” Barta says—and those were in support of his tuna-taming techniques. There were the critical letters, too, but Barta claims they were significantly fewer in number. “I hit [the tuna] the first time to subdue him, and the next five were to conquer and kill him,” Barta says assertively, adding, “I’ve always said, be careful to analyze who’s criticizing you—90 percent of it is jealousy or incompetence.”

Barta has the right to brag a bit. This is a man who started traveling offshore in a 19-foot Mako, wore a wetsuit in case he hit the drink, and slept on deck, just to chase big game. And back in the 1980’s, when few people would venture to the deep waters of the Northeast canyons, Barta and his crew would take his wooden 47-foot Ridgeway, Makaira (all his rides bear this moniker), loaded with extra barrels of fuel and explore a tuna fishery that was virtually untouched at the time. He single-handedly launched the recreational bigeye tuna fishery in Long Island—the first time Barta brought a bigeye to the docks in Shinnecock, no one knew what it was—and also learned why the fish were here and began to perfect techniques for catching them.

Next page > Part 2: But even Barta admits that he regrets all the fish carcasses in his wake. > Page 1, 2

This article originally appeared in the February 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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