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Aug 13, 2019 8:56 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Tred Barta Lived Life For Better And Worse

Aug 20, 2019 2:36 PM

Tred Barta was not very well liked by a lot of folks. His brash, egocentric showman’s personality rubbed plenty of people the wrong way.But few would deny his grit and work ethic when it came to his sporting lifestyle and his mettle when the most painfully ironic affliction possible for such a man beset him later in life.

A friend once said: “You will never find another person who has something like that happen to him and it makes him MORE of an egotistical jerk.”

I’m not one to suffer jerks for very long but, almost from the first minute I met him, Tred struck me not as a jerk but as a thoughtful, sensitive and fragile guy, cloaked in jerk’s clothing for the sake of appearances, or perhaps as a defense mechanism — who, if taken with a grain of salt, would gradually show himself to be not all that bad.

When in a crowd, especially on the docks, Tred’s innate ability to dress down the egos of anyone within spitting distance was legendary — or infamous. But in a more private setting, he was always more interested in his company and could be a shockingly sincere and soulful person.

While I can’t say I totally blamed a few of the people whose skin I saw him get under, I liked Tred.

Someone said at the funeral of another famously two-sided man a year or so ago that the great thing about dying is people suddenly only remember the good things. That’s what we’ll do for Tred, now that he is gone.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with his story, Tred was a renowned big game fisherman and hunter. He broke IGFA world records, hunted for grizzly bear with bow-and-arrow, killed wild boars with only a knife and spent the better part of his life far from civilization, at sea or in the wilderness.

He started a series of big-game fishing tournaments that raised money for youth fishing programs and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, authored a monthly column in Sport Fishing Magazine and a book “The Best And Worst Of Tred Barta,” as well as a television show of the same name.

His TV show focused on him traveling the world trying to bag fish and game in the most difficult ways possible: like shooting ducks and geese in flight with a bow-and-arrow.

Then the most unthinkable thing that could happen to a man of such history struck. He suffered a “spinal stroke” in 2009, leaving him paralyzed from the waist-down. Some said at the time that death would have seemed less cruel.

But Tred embraced it. Rather than abandon his show, he took its motto, “The Barta way, the hard way,” into a new realm with the challenge now being just to make it to sea or into the field to continue participating in his sporting adventures. The show, and Tred’s reinvigorated machismo, became an inspiration for those suffering physical disabilities.

He died on Sunday while driving back from a soul-searching journey to Alaska. If saying he was unique is the best you can muster in reflection on Tred, so be it. The sporting world has definitely lost one of its most unique stars.

Catch ’em up, Tred. See you up there.

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Godspeed my ole friend.
By Frythea (8), Southampton on Aug 13, 19 6:16 PM
tred was one of a kind and yes a bit over thetop but without a doubt hilarious and driven RIP my friend we will miss you sitting in a duck boat telling stories or the dinners at the log cabin, you were a great friend and always interesting to be around.
By jeffscan (19), sh on Aug 14, 19 11:31 AM
1 member liked this comment
journey on Tred. Keep the game in heaven on the move. Yet another piece of Southampton terroir gone...
By sstorch (49), water milll on Aug 15, 19 11:18 AM