BTT Mourns the Loss of Captain Travis Holeman

Captain Travis Holeman

Captain Travis Holeman, a strong supporter of BTT’s Project Permit, passed away on May 18, 2021, just shy of his 46th birthday.

Travis was one of the first champions of Project Permit at the project’s inception in 2015. Travis’ contributions to the project included freely sharing his extensive knowledge of permit from his many years on the water, donating countless hours of his time, and sharing many secret spots. This information formed the foundation of Project Permit, which grew from using dart tags to acoustic tracking, and to include many fishing guides and anglers throughout the Florida Keys.

“I first knew of Travis and Bear when they guided in the Charlotte Harbor area, where I lived at the time,” said BTT’s Director of Science and Conservation Dr. Aaron Adams. “But it was when they so generously stepped up to help Project Permit get off the ground in the Lower Keys that their knowledge of the waters and fisheries really showed. And they helped conservation in other ways as well, understanding the long view and big picture that is so essential.”

Travis and his brother Bear were also important partners in the Tarpon Acoustic Tracking Project, even helping to tag the first tarpon of the entire project. Once again, they freely shared their hard-earned knowledge and donated hours of boat time. Travis and Bear were featured Conservation Captains in the Spring 2019 issue of the BTT Journal, where Travis’ dedication to the fish, research, and conservation are evident (see page 46).

When asked why anglers should care and support conservation efforts, Travis answered:

“As far as conservation goes, the only people who have a dog in the fight are the people who participate. So everyone who participates should be involved—all the way from the guides to the manufacturers, and definitely the anglers.”

Travis walked the talk and his actions spoke louder than words.

Dr. Jake Brownscombe, the lead on Project Permit, and Dr. Luke Griffin, the lead on the Tarpon Acoustic Tagging Project, shared the following. “Travis spent countless hours with our research team for more than four years, imparting a trove of valuable knowledge about the Keys fisheries, donating his time to help catch and tag fish and deploy tracking equipment, connecting us with other key project partners, lending or giving us gear, rigging the research boat, and telling MANY entertaining stories. These science projects have and will continue to reveal more about permit and tarpon than we could have imagined, guiding their conservation and sustaining fishing opportunities for millions of anglers for years to come. This would not have been possible without him.”

Bonefish & Tarpon Trust is greatly appreciative of Captain Travis Holeman’s efforts and his lasting impact on fisheries conservation. We have lost a great friend and supporter, and we offer our sincere condolences to all who knew and loved him.