PALMETTO – Holmes Beach resident and charter fishing guide Scott Moore is the newest member of the Manatee County Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Family and friends, some of whom date back to Moore’s childhood, joined the 2019 inductee at the Hall of Fame luncheon at the Woman’s Club of Palmetto Thursday afternoon as part of the county’s Farm-City Week celebrations.
Moore’s wife, Karen, joined him at the head table. The couple’s daughters, Katie and Kelly, their son, Justin, and their sons-in-law, Ben Guth and Courtland Hunt, also attended the luncheon.
Before the luncheon began, Moore’s lifelong friend, Lindsey Hopewell, recalled how they grew up together in west Bradenton.
“We lived on a dead-end dirt road. For miles, it was nothing but lakes and ponds and we fished them all. He’s the best fisherman I’ve ever known,” Hopewell said.
While Farm-City week presentations were made and awards were given to local students, attendees enjoyed pork barbeque and other southern dishes catered by the Hickory Hollow restaurant.
When introducing Moore, Florida Sea Grant agent Angela Collins said he moved to Manatee County when he was three months old, graduated from Manatee High School and since then has spent decades living and raising a family in Holmes Beach.
Collins said Moore set a world record in 1983 for the largest snook caught on 2 lb. test fishing line. That record was later broken, but Moore also guided the Tampa woman, Debbie Miller, who still holds the record for catching a 22-pound snook on 4 lb. test line.
“There’s no doubt Captain Scott is an excellent fisherman and an accomplished guide. For these things alone he deserves a ton of recognition, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to recognize Captain Moore for his contributions to aquaculture,” Collins said.
She mentioned the economic importance of Florida’s fisheries and water resources and Moore’s intimate knowledge of them.
“His experience on the water and his passion for fish and our marine ecosystem is rivaled by probably no one. His concern for the health of our fisheries and the conservation of these resources led him down the path of advocating for good science, effective management and cooperation across the docks to reach a common goal, which is healthy, sustainable fish populations for future generations,” Collins said.
Collins said Moore spent the past four decades sharing his wisdom and concerns about the local ecosystems and environment with scientists, managers, commercial fishermen, fishing guides, his own charter patrons and anyone else who would listen.
Moore founded the Florida Guides Association and was later its first hall of fame inductee. He helped found the Coastal Conservation Association and still serves on that board.
Moore’s been recognized by the Florida Wildlife Federation, received the William R. Mote award, received the Florida Sportsmen’s Conservation Award, the Don Hansen Conservationist of the Year award and was involved with the Frank Sargeant Outdoor Expo for more than 25 years.
“Sarasota philanthropists Carol and Barney Barnett donated $3 million to Mote Marine Lab for their fisheries conservation and enhancement initiative. As part of the deal, the Barnetts established the Captain Scott Moore senior research scientist position,” Collins said.
Moore has appeared on TV and radio shows and is the subject of the book, “Captain Scott Moore’s Snook Fishing Secrets,” written by his close friend, the late G.B. Knowles. The book notes Moore was the first fishing guide in America to guarantee snook catches.
“It’s people like Scott Moore that bridge the gap between science, management and our angling public. And it’s passion like his that really moves the needle for the conservation of these resources that are so precious to us and to our children. Thank you Scotty for all the work you do,” Collins said when presenting him with a plaque commemorating his Hall of Fame induction.
After receiving a standing ovation, Moore expressed thanks and appreciation for his family and friends.
“Being a professional fishing guide, a commercial fisherman or a recreational fisherman – if you’re harvesting fish, you’re still in the same boat. People need to understand that,” Moore said of the need for fishermen to work together.
Moore said the world record snook Collins mentioned was the first fish ever submitted to the International Angling Association after being certified and released as a live fish.
“That’s what made that so special,” he said.
Moore said his introduction to the aquaculture concept took place during a fishing excursion with shrimp packaging and processor Phil Alessi one day in the 1980s, when Alessi was expecting an important phone call.
“You know what he was buying? A million pounds of shrimp to process. And guess what? Some of that shrimp was farm-raised. He said down the road there’s no way we can keep up with wild-caught,” Moore said.
He also said he took Mote Marine founder William Mote fishing for many years.
“He promoted the commercial fishing industry. He saw the picture: you’ve got to take, you’ve got to give,” Moore said.
“It’s not just raising reds and snooks and trout, but commercially-raised fish too. You want to support the wild-caught, there’s nothing better, but they can only produce so much,” Moore said of Mote Marine’s ongoing aquaculture efforts.
“If you put oysters in the water, if you put clams in the water, it helps Cortez because you’re cleaning the waters and your promoting conservation, which brings the fish populations up,” he added.
In the early 1970s, Moore worked as a hook and line fisherman in Cortez. In 1979, he started his Moore Fishing charter service at the Cortez Fishing Center, which is now the Tide Tables restaurant.
Moore still captains his boat, the Primadonna, and remains very active in the fishing community.