The sailfish is a gorgeous creature and one of the world's great game fish. But it's the wrong fish to represent Florida as its state fish.
That's the message just out from veteran fishing writer (and occasional Sport Fishing contributor) Byron Stout, of Fort Myers.
Say what? How could anyone object to the sailfish as the state fish?
To find out exactly how, read Stout's column online (Kids Should Protest State Game Fish). You can get gist of his argument there, and you can get his alternative proposal here: tarpon. (In fact, Stout references SF's December feature that rates the world's great game fish as justification.)
Is he right? Should tarpon be the official Florida state fish? Or sailfish? Or something else? (Hardhead catfish not eligible!) What's your 2-cents'?
I guess the tarpon is a candidate, but not anymore than the sail. As Bryon contends, sailfish are not unique to Florida, but neither are tarpon. So I am not sure that points holds up. One thing you have to remember is the two prominent fishing destinations in the state were made famous by each of these two species. Key West for tarpon and Miami-Palm Beach for sails. But, when you look at places like Daytona, Flamingo, Sanibel, Cedar Key, Panama City, Destin there are variety of species that are targeted and caught a whole lot more than tarpon or sails. Florida is just blessed with a tremendous variety of coast line, marine environments and ocean currents. You could probably pick snook, redfish, seatrout, mullet, mackerel, snapper (which), and many others as the state fish and it would hold merit. Sailfish to a certain degree really put South Florida on the fishing map in a much more monied style that did tarpon. Who am I kidding though, it's fishing and both the tarpon and the sail are dynamic ocean quarry.
Last edited by Seth; 11-24-08 at 06:10 PM.