I'm Captain Tred Barta, I am safe and sound in Islamorada and although I’ve taken some good losses, I am okay. However, Islamorada and areas close to it, are not okay due to Hurricane Irma.
As I have discussed many times, this is “Fish Town, USA” and most people who fish around the world come to Islamorada to enjoy the great captains, the great mates, the great flats, reef, off shore fishing, the beautiful crystal-clear water, the great snorkeling, scuba diving and water sports. Islamorada is certainly part of the fabric of a grand sporting life.
Most of the fishing guides and off shore captains are not wealthy people. They have not chosen their profession to get wealthy, they have chosen their profession to see your sons and daughters catch their first fish, it is their love of the water and it is their choice to be able to share it with you, the client. Most of them in general cannot take a financial hit like Irma has dished out. Many of their homes have been destroyed. Many of their boats have been damaged in the hurricane, many of them have newborn children and kids in school. There is no harder job than that of a charter captain or a charter mate and the truth is, without this group, The Keys will never be the same again and to be quite honest, The Keys are not even worth coming to without these charter captains. There are many captains and mates who are right on the ragged edge of leaving The Keys and not returning and it is often just a small helping hand that can make the difference in their survival.
So, it is with great pride, that I introduce the Barta Fund. 100% of this money will go to captains and mates in dire need who will continue to stay in Islamorada doing their beloved trade.
The young charter captain with 2 kids, who has been in Islamorada for 5 years, who has a good charter base but lost his electronics in Irma and needs the money to replace them so he can take charters and perhaps one or two months’ rent so he can get back on his feet again would be the stereotype I want the Barta Fund to help. Perhaps one of our great old salts (my age) whose boat was not covered by insurance, has solid charter bookings for the year but needs his 50-foot old wood boat repaired or has to shut down, that would be a great recipient of the Barta Fund. Anyone who is a captain or mate in the fishing business who needs a helping hand, that would make the difference of him either making it or not making it, I want to help those who need help the most.
I am asking every single person on my Facebook to give something, give big, give small, by check, by cash, by wire transfer, it makes no difference. If you see me anywhere and you want to say hello, let me tell you one thing before the conversation is over, I am going to ask you for money.
There are a lot of people who like me and there are a lot of people who don’t, I have always tried to do my best and specially for other people. I know in my heart the Barta Fund can make a difference, I am asking and I am begging for your help. This is for the best of causes. No one will ever waste one dime of Barta Fund money. None of the people on the Barta Fund board will ever take or will be due a single dime.
In general, the charter boat community in Islamorada has been very kind to me since I now call this my home. The devastation down here is beyond belief. Many hotels will re-open shortly and many of the docks where these charter captains keep their boats have been destroyed. Do not think for one moment that the charter business in Islamorada is dead, 90% of the reef and flat boats have their rigs on trailers and although they may be disjointed in where they are living, they need your charters now to get by. So, I say to each one of you, call to book an Islamorada charter and book a trip. If you can’t come now, book it for Christmas or Thanksgiving. Please I beg you, please, book a Keys fishing trip. These guys will not take your money but they can sure use some cash flow in the worst way. Matter of fact, by booking a trip and sending a deposit even if the trip is in the future, it can help these guys, BIG TIME. The Florida Keys have proven to be one the best places to catch a swordfish, I and many others have proven that. If you’ve got a swordfish on your bucket list, please book a trip now.
Yesterday in church, I held in my arms the wife of a 35-year-old charter captain. They have 2 small children in school, have been living in Islamorada for 4 years, they just paid off their back-country Pathfinder, their outboard engine went under water and was ruined during Irma. Although I am paralyzed from my chest down, I could feel her tears on my neck as I hugged her. She said to me, “what am I going to do? we just paid the boat and the engine off, we don’t have the money.” It is my hope that the Barta Fund will dry those tears. I cannot do this by myself but I could not have raised the money I have for charities in my tournaments alone either. Please support me.
My idea is very simple, we give the money away to those who need it most. Islamorada and the local areas is your town too. It’s some of the greatest fishing in the world. I humble myself before you and ask for your support.
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