Tred Barta, a pioneering figure in canyon fishing and a controversial one, passed away on Aug. 12 after a long battle with an illness that left a great outdoorsman in a wheelchair.

Barta started fishing the canyons in a relatively small boat out of Shinnecock, Long Island, and quickly developed a reputation for catching bigeye tuna when those fish were just becoming known to the sportfishing community. The photo below is of the young Barta with a world record bigeye. Tred was outspoken and opinionated – traits which made him both friends and enemies. He seemed to enjoy the controversy  – and named his Versus Channel TV show “The Best and the Worst of Tred Barta.”

Tred also was a regular contributer to Sport Fishing magazine, and involved with boat companies in designing craft suitable for offshore fishing. Eventually he also got involved in running tournaments for charity and getting kids started in fishing. I used to see him at boat shows, and we always had cordial conversations with none of the bluster that some accused him of.

While on a hunting trip in the west, Barta was struck with a rare spinal stroke that suddenly immobilized him one night. Very shortly he was paralyzed from the armpits down. Yet, Barta managed to go on with his writing and TV. I remember him doing a show catching a sailfish from his wheelchair.

Barta, who also fought cancer, was born on March 28, 1952 and lived a very full though short life. Yet, his fishing and rigging tips will be remembered  by anglers for many years to come.

Tred Barta

The Golden Eagle finally got out of Belmar as the ocean calmed a bit, and they once again found super bluefish jigging. The action with 2-5-pounders was so fast that they were releasing by 10:30. Some king mackerel and porgies plus a few bonito and sea bass were added.

Capt. Rob Semkewyc, of the Sea Hunter from Atlantic Highlands, said that ” All in all, it was  a decent day” as there was one fluke limit plus a fair amount of keepers even though he couldn’t fish some areas due to the sea conditions. He emphasized that just dragging bait with catch some shorts, few keepers are hooked unless the rod is being worked.

Vinny D’Anton tried to fish the Manasquan surf, but said the waves were actually dangerous and left after a couple of casts. Betty & Nick’s in Seaside Park reported the weather has been good, but five days of northeast winds stained the waters. The inshore forecast is east winds at 5-10 knots tomorrow with 2-4-foot seas.  The surf should become fishable during the next two days.

I fished Point Pleasant Canal for bluefish this morning and never had a hit, though I was told a few had been picked before I arrived.


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