This is the 14th year that I have had the chance to write about the Barta Billfish tournament to come. I feel fortunate and as with every person who has ever walked this Earth, every year brings a lot of change.
Personally, I have endured a couple of very close calls this year medically, and the good Lord in which I believe in felt it was not my time yet. I take this privilege of being alive very seriously. My goal for the first Barta tournament was unequivocally and without negotiation, to instill in the hearts our youth the great values which were taught to me by my parents: hard work, loyalty, honesty, integrity, consistency and that one should never give up. These, I believe are the keys to being a successful, productive and contributing person in this world. Our role as tournament board members and organizers is to demonstrate these qualities and in the case of our tournament, give to an organization, the Boys & Girls Club, as they instill these same values in youth, too.
This year, in an effort to continue our mission of supporting the Boys & Girls Club, tournament directors have added a Winner-Take-All Dolphin tournament to the Boys & Girls Club Billfish Tournament as well as adjusting the rules of the traditional billfish release tournament to allow the use of lures. The reasons for these important changes are simple: Grow the tournament and in turn grow donations to the Boys & Girls Club.
Adding a Winner-Take-All dolphin tournament provides participating anglers the opportunity to win a cash prize for weighing the heaviest dolphin within this tournament. Anglers may elect to fish the billfish tournament and the dolphin tournament or just enter the dolphin tournament; however a weighed dolphin may only be entered in one of the tournaments, not both. Adding the cash-payout provides an enticing incentive to fish and compete. Our vision is that this new tournament venue within the tournament allows boats that have no interest in billfish release competition, the opportunity to fish a relatively low financial impact tournament. Rules for this tournament are established and our hope is that if this tournament is successful, we may expand in the future.
In addition, tournament directors have also amended the rules to allow the use of lures, with J-hooks. For longtime supporters of this tournament, the challenge of circle-hook and dead bait-only tournament fishing has increased the challenges of participating anglers. Our belief is that with the factors of weather and economy and the mission of growing funds for the Boys & Girls Club that by allowing lures, as most sister tournaments in the NC Governor’s Cup, we expand tournament entries and expand the experience of the tournament.
This tournament will remain a release-only billfish tournament. We do feel that allowing a payout to heaviest meat fish, dolphin for example, grows our tournament in a positive direction.
Along with our tournament directors, I am very excited about this year’s tournament and I hope it grows and expands to include other pelagic species.
At the core of our tournament is that we have raised, $874,000 for the Boys and Girls Club. It has and continues to be an absolute privilege to assist in the important mission of the Boys & Girls Club and their impact in the community of Coastal Carolina. Personally, I have grown up with many of your children; I have seen them turn from young boys and girls into young men and women. They are polite, they are well dressed, they work hard and they possess all of those traits that I talk about at tournament time. It has been a joy in my life seeing them and this tournament mature.
Collectively, we as a tournament remain committed to our goal of $1,000,000.00 raised and donated to the Boys and Girls Club. I am excited, I am energized and I am coming to our tournament this year with the belief that our tournament will continue to grow and continue to prosper.
We have much change underfoot and we as a tournament staff are energized with this change. Please follow us and remain connected via our social media outlets as well as the website for updates and changes. As always, we are open to suggestions and appreciate any guidance that you feel is valuable in moving our tournament forward.
In closing God Bless America, God Bless our tournament and God bless each of you.
Until tournament week, I am Tred Barta.
Captain Tred Barta