As I write this, there is little information to go on.
There is a Facebook post, and that’s about it.
The post from 5 p.m. Monday, reads like this …
“This is Travis H. Brown, the admin and agent of Capt. Tred Barta’s Facebook account. Many are now learning about his passing in an automotive accident in Canada. Until we have further details to share as directed from his family, we are not commenting further.”
Barta was 67.
He is best known around these parts for the Barta Boys & Girls Club Billfish Tournament, which last year changed to the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain Billfish Classic.
The record-setting hunter and fisherman, author and pilot came to national prominence as the host of the hunting and fishing show “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta.”
He co-founded the Beaufort fishing tournament with Jim Bailey, the former director of the Capt. Fannie’s Billfish Tournament, and the two set a goal of raising $1 million for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain (formerly the Boys & Girls Clubs of Coastal Carolina).
That goal isn’t too far away.
The tournament has raised more than $900,000 up to this point.
Say what you will about Barta – and many have – with more than a few labeling him as bombastic, egotistical, opinionated and controversial.
Barta, who was once given the moniker “The Butcher of Shinnecock” by Sports Illustrated, due to his prolific fish kills, was a high-energy, dynamic, outspoken orator who ranted and raved on any number of topics. He started about every other sentence with “I’m Tred Barta,” and ended about every other sentence with “I do things my way … the hard way … the Barta way.”
Regardless of your thoughts on Barta, it was hard to argue with his heart. It usually seemed to be in the right place, especially when it came to charity fishing tournaments.
More than 20 years ago, he started something that was unheard of at the time – a 100-percent release, honor-based competition where no fish are killed, called the Barta Blue Marlin Classic, held each year in Walkers Cay, Bahamas. The tournament raised more than $1 million for the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Junior Angler program.
He also spread some love in South Carolina at the Barta Camp Woodie Offshore Tournament in Georgetown, S.C. The event raised money for Camp Woodie in partnership with the South Carolina Waterfowl Association and its 26 chapters. Additionally, money was given to charities supporting underprivileged children in South Carolina.
But Barta slowed down in recent years.
He suffered a spinal stroke in 2009 that caused paralysis from the chest down. He also received a cancer diagnosis that year and beat the disease. Despite those two uppercuts that would have left most men flat on the canvas, he continued on and had missed just one tournament in Beaufort.
His final years on this Earth were tough ones, but he certainly left his mark, especially in those 14 years down on the Beaufort town docks.
He won’t be forgotten any time soon.
(Send comments or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @jjsmithccnt.)