Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
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BTT Mourns the Loss of Captain Joe Gonzalez

We are deeply saddened by the loss of renowned guide, Captain Joe Gonzalez, a pillar of South Florida’s tight-knit fishing community and a mentor and friend to many. A Florida native, Joe began fishing his home waters at a young age, exploring the Florida Keys and the Bahamas during his summer breaks. He went to guide professionally for more than 30 years in the Florida Keys, Everglades National Park, and Biscayne Bay, where he gained acclaim for his ability to put clients on large bonefish and permit. Known for his friendly demeanor, sense of humor, and fishing prowess, Joe had a positive impact on every angler fortunate enough to share a day with him on his skiff. Over the past days, tributes from fellow guides and clients across the country have poured in.

A master of his craft and consummate teacher, Joe shared his fishing knowledge as a regular seminar presenter and taught in a variety of venues including the IGFA and Saltwater Sportman’s Seminar Series. He made numerous television appearances, starring on Flats Class TV with CA Richardson, Bass2Bills with Peter Miller, Guiding Flow with Benny Blanco, and Sportsman’s Adventures with Rick Murphy, among many others. In 2014, Joe was honored with the Jose Wejebe Professional Guide Award.

Joe was a steward of the waters he fished and committed to conserving the flats fishery. He tagged over 1,300 bonefish, more than any other guide on record, and was instrumental in the success of BTT’s Project Permit, tagging more than 130 fish. He was also a vocal advocate for protecting and conserving Biscayne Bay for future generations of guides and anglers. Joe was a regular participant in BTT’s International Science Symposium, where he served on the Bonefish Panel alongside fellow guides, anglers, and scientists. We’re grateful to Joe for his many contributions to flats fishery conservation, and for the mentorship he provided to many anglers and guides throughout the course of his storied career.

Captain Joe Gonzalez will be sorely missed throughout South Florida and the larger sport fishing community. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

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