Former President Bush, left, with Florida Keys guide George Wood displays the big tarpon that Bush caught and released near Islamorada. Photo courtesy Andy Mill.
Sometimes in public relations all good things intended, end up a bit sour.
Late last Friday (April 18), I received a call from an editor at the Key West Citizen. He wanted to know if we would be photographically covering former President George H.W. Bush’s angling trip to Islamorada.
At that point I wasn’t really committed to doing it, but after check with the Associated Press to determine if they had any interest, I said we would endeavor to get a picture.
Saturday morning our photo/video stringer Bob Care made a few frames of Bush, Andy Mill and guide George Wood departing the dock. It wasn’t a very compelling image, but it moved nationally.
Bob also made arrangements to have Mill, a former Olympic skier and friend of the president, shoot some photos if the president was successful.
Later Saturday night, Bob called me with excitement in his voice.
“Bush caught and released a 135-pound tarpon this afternoon,” Bob told me. “Andy (Mill) is going to get me the photos tomorrow.”
The next day Bob sent me Mill’s photos.
It was an incredible fish and a fine angling achievement, but there seemed to be one problem. The photograph showed the fish completely out of the water and balanced on Bush’s and Wood’s laps. And Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission rules prohibit a tarpon to be taken out of the water unless a harvest tag has been purchased.