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Video'd Shark Fishermen Banned from Sarasota Slam Tourney

August 2, 2017 - 11:15am
Marina Jack, Sarasota
Marina Jack, Sarasota

So inundated with protests over the possible participation of Michael Wenzel and Robert Lee "Bo" Benac in their popular fishing tournament, the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association (MSBIA) has posted an assurance to the community on the tourney website that the accused marine-life abusers won't be fishing in the Sarasota Slam.

The two Manatee County men, said to have posted on social media the video of themselves dragging a live shark behind a speedboat, have been banned from the annual event, which began at Sarasota's Marina Jack on Tuesday and continues through Saturday.

This is the full text of MSBIA's statement: 

"We, the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association (MSBIA) and our fishing tournament Sarasota Slam, has been implicated by association with a now-infamous video of 3 young men dragging a shark by boat.

"The video tape footage revealed one of the men in the video was wearing one of our fishing shirts. They are not a member of the MSBIA. We are making this statement because our association has been under attack via social media, emails and phone calls from the public and from media outlets, both local and beyond. 

"We want the public to know that the MSBIA does not stand for, nor condones, this type of behavior and has been swift in its actions in banning these young men from participating in the Sarasota Slam. We are providing information to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), and cooperating with their investigation. We will not be providing any names, or any other information, except to the appropriate authorities.

"We take pride that our tournament is safe and family-friendly, donates a portion of proceeds to charity, and follows all NOAA and Billfish Foundation rules and regulations. We expect all anglers in the tournament to also comply with FWC Commission rules and regulations."

"This is good to hear," commercial fisherman Billy Chaffin told Sunshine State News on Wednesday. "A lot of us heard these clowns were signed up to fish in the tournament. We were ready to go over there and carry signs."

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith


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Protecting animals is obviously a HOT BUTTON. First the FWC should confirm that what the accused men did was a crime in the eyes of the state. IF NOT then the people that are up in arms about this situation should start calling their representatives and the governor. The treatment of the shark was immoral and disgusting but if it wasn't illegal then the law enforcement agencies can not do anything. ASK WHY LAW ENFORCEMENT HASN'T DONE ANYTHING YET

Ban fishing tournaments cruel, unessary entertainment for morons

So far this is the only consequence they have faced, for torturing abusing and killing wildlife and dogs. Arrests need to be made to protect the community at large from this escalating to human attacks, as this type of behavior often leads to. These poor animals cannot vote, but people do! If nothing is done, the World has its eyes on Sarasota, and knowing that affluent families are involved, expect there to be justice served. Eyes are on you, do the right thing, arrest them and stop this evil behavior. The pictures of many of the animal victims and videos tagged to taunt the FWC as though they are powerless to act. This is unacceptable. (See pix on FWC FB page).

So relieved that only nice killers will be participating.

Thank you for taking these so called humans out of this event. I too think they need to be punished and not allowed near the water they not eating the food it's like a pleasure for them to abuse and kill God brought these animals and sea life to our world for a reason and it wasn't for the pleasure to kill

"Shark fishermen" would do well to troll while "circling the Tallahassee Legislature"...

Stop calling them "young men" as if this absolves them from their despicable behavior. They need jail time, serious fines and lifetime bans from fishing and hunting. The goods news is they will be publicly shamed on social media forever.

You're retarded if you think they need a lifetime ban from access to food. Jail time and fines and a little bit of social ostracism will be good for them for the next couple of years.

This is a joke right? No one seriously uses a slur against people with mental health issues to defend animal abusers.....really?

I think a lifetime ban from food is a perfect solution.

I think a lifetime ban from food is a perfect solution.

Hey Retard!! They have grocery stores in Florida don't they? You sound like you did something like that too based on your DUMB comment.

Yes, because in this day and age that's definitely the ONLY way to get food, and it's definitely how they have been utilizing it...I'm sure they were gonna make shark fin soup, right?!

While this makes a statement banning them from their own tournament how about seeing to it they are punished for their crimes? You may not have any other association with anyone involved however you certainly can put pressure of the FWC to see to it they follow up, god knows there's enough evidence & I'm sick of hearing the photos posted are not enough so called evidence to prosecute!!

they should be banned from the water.

You need to rethink what you're talking about move away from emotions and be sensible

To be honest they should ban anybody connected to these idiots, from fishing competitions or from Marinas the operate out of... it's the only way you'll get at these people... they really think their above everybody else and will get away with doing whatever they like... or is it not financially viable to upset these people and their families.. I wonder...

Although there are some questions as to their sincerity, I'm happy that any action was taken.Sick and tired of so many psychotic losers killing and maiming the wildlife of this world.We need to react to people killing all wildlife that faces extinction before it's too late.

Sarasota is fast becoming the city for the trash that nobody else wants and the Chamber of Commerce kisses their rears. Siesta Key residents need to stop all the dregs of society from taking over Siesta Beach. Shall I mention all the show Jersey Shore.

Darned if I am not positively warming up to Mark.

So what? The MSBIA is politically connected to these pukes through their association with their parents. All the MSBIA is worried about is their little fundraiser, 'Sarasota Slam'. They also have the nerve stating they were "swift in its actions". Hah!

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