Forget about New Year’s resolutions… InTheBite is straight to the point in 2019.
Grab a copy of the latest Jan/Feb Issue, hitting the docks now!
Forget about New Year’s resolutions… InTheBite is straight to the point in 2019.
Grab a copy of the latest Jan/Feb Issue, hitting the docks now!
DAY 2 5:00pm UPDATE:
DANIA BEACH, Fla. – January 9, 2019 – The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) recently announced the appointment of a new European & Mediterranean Regional Council led by IGFA Trustee and Council Chair Massimo Brogna of Italy.
“We are very excited about the launch of the first of our new regional councils,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “The creation of the European & Mediterranean Council is a significant step toward our goal of strengthening the IGFA’s presence and impact around the globe.”
The purpose of the new IGFA Regional Councils is to create local organizational structures to help the IGFA drive its mission of game fish conservation and promotion of ethical angling practices around the world. IGFA Regional Councils will assist IGFA headquarters in maintaining and cultivating relationships with IGFA clubs, captains, weigh stations and members in their respective regions.
“The appointment of this first IGFA Region Council represents a great opportunity to further the efforts of the IGFA in our region of the world,” said Council Chairman Massimo Brogna. “I am excited about the team we have put together and confident that their expertise will help the IGFA achieve great things for the recreational angling community throughout the European & Mediterranean Region.”
Following a recent regional meeting in Barcelona, Spain, IGFA trustees, representatives, members, captains and club representatives residing in the region participated in a two-week nomination process to recommend council officers and committee members. A total of 47 nominations were received and reviewed by IGFA staff and European trustees.
After careful deliberation, the following individuals were selected as officers of the new IGFA European & Mediterranean Regional Council.
Massimo Brogna (Italy)
After serving as an IGFA Representative for more than 12 years, during which he recruited more than 400 new members to the organization and helped grow the IGFA throughout the region, Brogna was elected to the IGFA Board of Trustees in 2016. A passionate angler since age five, Brogna is a strong advocate for ethical angling practices and has worked with fellow IGFA Representatives on tagging research programs for Atlantic bluefin tuna. He was instrumental in the first ever deployment of an IGFA Great Marlin Race satellite tag on a Mediterranean spearfish in 2017. Massimo currently serves as the Italian President of the European Federation of Sea Anglers (EFSA), a delegate for European Union Affairs, was a founding member of Circolo Pesca D’Altura-Catania and is the tournament director for the Italian Deep Sea Trolling Championship.
CONSERVATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
Pierre Affre (France)
IGFA Trustee Pierre Affre is a veterinarian, author, documentarist, and champion big-game fly angler and caster who began his contributions to the organization as a representative from France in the 1980s. Affre’s passion for fly fishing is matched only by his dedication to the conservation of game fish, specifically in the European & Mediterranean region. During his lifetime, Affre has written hundreds of articles and 20 books on sport fishing and fish conservation and has also produced more than 50 documentary movies in France centered on comparing the economic impacts of recreational fishing in the U.S. and Europe.
EDUCATION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
Lorenzo Roca (Spain)
An angler since the early 1960s, Lorenzo Roca fishes an average of 200 days per year. His love for the sport has taken him all over the globe in search of the next adventure. He has won more than 100 local tournaments and has competed in hundreds more. Serving as an IGFA Representative for Spain since 2014, Roca’s love for fishing has motivated him to spearhead efforts to ensure that future generations can enjoy the sport through his involvement in bluefin tuna tagging programs, and most recently through his “Kids School” initiative that has taught more than 1,000 children to fish since its inception in 2018.
RULES AND RECOGNITION COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
Elvio Pennetti (Turkey)
Elvio Pennetti was appointed as an IGFA Representative in 2004 and has been an avid proponent and advocate for the development of sport fishing in Turkey for years. Pennetti has made countless guest speaking engagements at fishing clubs throughout Turkey and has attended several meetings of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) as a representative of his country’s recreational angling community. Additionally, Pennetti played a key role developing the first offshore fishing competitions in Turkey, which strictly adhere to IGFA rules.
DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN
Ignasi Ferrer (Spain)
Ignasi Ferrer has worked extensively to develop and promote recreational angling as a socio-economic benefit in Spain and throughout Europe. Ferrer was appointed as an IGFA Representative in 2016 and currently serves as the president of the Catalan Association of Responsible Fishing in Spain. Over the past decade, Ferrer has helped to develop several citizen-science tagging projects for bluefin tuna and has worked closely with government agencies in the European Union to develop sustainable models for recreational angling.
OTHER COUNCIL COMMITTEE MEMBERS
• Omar Ardati
• Alvis Birkovs
• Yann Giulio
• Armando Piccinini
• Ahmed Shaker
• Andrey Grigoriev
• Serdar Gunseren
• Roberto Ripamonti
• Raul Roca
• Endrik Tonsberg
Rules and Recognition Committee
• Giacomo Forti
• Sandro Onofaro
• Johan Pettersson
• Bruno Sares
• Marc Werquin
• Yann Giulio
• Michel Marchandise
• Andre Montocchio
• Gregory Tordjeman
West Palm Beach, Fla. (Dec. 27, 2018) – Recognized as both the largest and richest sailfishing series in the world, the first leg of the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series, Operation Sailfish, will be held at the Sailfish Marina in Palm Beach from January 16-20, 2019. Participating teams will battle it out on the high seas, sailfishing both Friday and Saturday for the chance to take home a custom set of champion dog tags and a stout payday with a cash purse worth over $800,000.
Other opportunities to reel in a win include the “Release Round-Up” jackpot. This winner-take-all category is approaching a $300,000 payout at Operation Sailfish with a buy-in of only $1,000. Win the tournament and the Release Roundup and your team could be cashing a check for over $500,000. The 2018 champion team and current titleholder, Weez in the Keys went home with a cash payout of $210,000 last year. Who will earn the prestigious title this year?
This two-day long tournament will give anglers a run for their boats, rods, and money. With a variety of prize categories available to enter, anglers will have many opportunities to collect some hefty checks and patriotic trophies. There are two tiers of optional entry through the daily categories that provide teams with an opportunity to win over $80,000 on a first place daily. Early and late bite categories also offer teams the chance to win some bonus cash in both the first and second half of the day.
Along with the competition, one of the most notable highlights of Operation Sailfish is the unique opportunity it provides anglers to give back to the men and women of the United States military. In partnership with its charity, Operation Homefront, each year this tournament holds a “Take a Hero Fishing Day,” which is designed to honor and support military veterans, active-duty soldiers, and wounded warriors by getting them out on the water for a fun day fishing. Held on Thursday, January 17, 2019, each participating team will be paired with a hero to enjoy a day of fishing, followed by a cocktail reception and awards ceremony, where top hero’s will be presented with trophies of their own!
The kick-off party is held on Wednesday, January 16 at the historic Sailfish Marina Resort in Palm Beach, with a color guard and national anthem ceremony. Competition days are both Friday, January 18 and Saturday, January 19, followed by a brunch and awards presentation Sunday, January 20 at Sailfish Marina Resort. Tournament registration is available online at www.operationsailfish.com. Registration remains open until the conclusion of the kickoff party on January 16th.
For more information on Operation Sailfish, visit the tournament website at www.operationsailfish.com or call 954-725-4010. The entire Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series schedule can be found at www.questforthecrest.com
SPRINGFIELD, Va., Dec. 31, 2018 – A sign of the times, the U.S. Coast Guard reports that it’s common for recreational boaters today to use cellphones to call during a boating emergency. While Boat Owners Association of The United States urges every vessel to have a working VHF radio with DSC (digital selective calling), the nation’s recreational boating advocacy, services and safety group also recognizes that cellphones are firmly embedded in boaters’ lives. But what happens when a boater tries to call 911 for emergency or routine on water assistance? Will the call go to the closest, most relevant rescue agency for a swift response?
Unfortunately that’s not always the case. But a provision in the recently passed Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization of Act of 2018 aims to improve reliability of the 911 system when recreational boaters need emergency help. In an effort to ensure timely dispatch of the closest potential rescue asset or on-water assistance provider, the Act requires the U.S. Coast Guard to review its policies and procedures to “formulate a national maritime Public Safety Answering Points (PSAP) policy.” There are more than 6,000 PSAPs in the U.S. – local 24/7 call centers with trained dispatchers that receive 911 emergency telephone calls and route them to the proper emergency service.
“This effort will help minimize the possibility of maritime calls being improperly routed and to assure the U.S. Coast Guard is able to effectively carry out its maritime search-and-rescue mission,” said Tina Cardone, executive director of the Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing (C-PORT). C-PORT members, made up of on-water towing industry companies from across the country, contributed to the legislative effort. This included TowBoatUS Mystic owner Capt. Jeff Dziedzic.
“This was a grass-roots effort by many and took years of working with U.S. Coast Guard and elected officials,” said Capt. Dziedzic. “We care about this because of our occasional role in responding to life-threating events as good Samaritans, as well as answering calls for more routine requests for assistance.”
In a video recently captured from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Capt. Dziedzic’s local congressman, thanked the captain for bringing the issue to his attention.
BoatUS also thanks the leadership of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.) and Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.).
Additional TowBoatUS C-PORT members joining the effort included Capt. Chad Noetzel, TowBoatUS Port Huron, Michigan; Capt. Terry Hill, TowBoatUS Potomac, Virginia, Capt. Richard Paul, TowBoatUS Cape Coral, Florida; and Capt. Chris Shaffner, TowBoatUS Palm Beach, Florida.
By Elliott Stark
Although you have to be pretty dedicated to fishing to buy and run a bluewater charter boat, there are some people whose desire to make a sportfishing career happen goes the extra mile. Captain Chris Kubik is one of those people. Having grown up in Atlanta, Kubik travelled to the Outer Banks in the summers as a child. When he was 16, he saved up enough to charter a boat. After catching a white marlin, he was hooked.
Growing up Kubik would read anything about fishing he could get his hands on – magazines, fishing reports, you name it. “I read a story about a guy who wanted to fish and headed to the dock to start handing out ice until he got a job fishing…So that’s what I did,” Kubik recalls.
“I loaded up my Honda Accord and headed to Oregon Inlet. I drove overnight from Atlanta, it took about nine hours. I got there early and slept in my car for an hour and I started handing out ice. I got a job on an inshore boat about three weeks later and started picking up freelance offshore trips from there,” he says.
Kubik rented a place to sleep while waiting for his fishing dreams to materialize. Does this sound like an awesome thing to do? “It definitely was not awesome. It was terrible. I rented a piece of crap trailer – it was the most God-awful place you could imagine. It was rented by the week, if that tells you anything. There was a house on some land with a bunch of trailers on the property. It was a bunch of crackheads and me. I was afraid to unload my stuff out of my car because they might have stolen it,” Kubik says.
Kubik worked on the inshore boat over the summer and soon made friends with a mate who had an extra room where he stayed. His living conditions improved and Kubik has never looked back. “Fin Gaddy had an opening,” Chris recalls. An owner/operator, Gaddy runs the Qualifier, a 54-foot Mann, out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. “I knew the mate who was leaving and Fin let me freelance for a couple of days. I’m not sure why he hired me because to be honest at the time I was not very good… I guess he thought he could teach me and he did.”
Kubik would fish with Gaddy for ten years. Fin provides a bit of perspective on what makes Kubik such a force on the water. “He just has a competitive spirit about him. When I first met him, he’d only fished a little bit offshore. He was such a genuinely nice and sincere person that it almost made me uncomfortable,” Gaddy says with a bit of a laugh. Soon after hiring Kubik, Gaddy and the Qualifier headed to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. “He’d never caught a sailfish. After two days he’d caught 58. It was sort of a trial by fire. Chris got to learn in the right places. It was his dream to come here and fish and he made it happen.”
“Fin taught me everything I know about marlin fishing – teasers, dredges, maneuvering on fish. Attention to detail was the biggest thing – the importance of keeping everything perfect… knots, connections, everything. He is very meticulous in that regard,” Kubik recalls. “If he wanted to teach me to rig something on our day off, he would pull out five or six mackerel and show me how to do it. A lot of guys won’t do that because they don’t want to waste the bait.”
“When I left the Qualifier, I started mating on the Point Runner. I would run it when Capt. Danny Wadsworth (owner/operator) needed a day off. I worked there for three years and bought it last year,” says Kubik. The Point Runner is a 60-foot Guthrie powered by c12.9 Cats. Kubik’s operation is based out of the Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. Kubik follows in one of sportfishing’s greatest traditions – the North Carolina owner/operator charterman.
When asked about the lessons he has learned along the way, Kubik provides some wise perspective. “Spend time learning before you think about moving up,” he says. Advice to young guys breaking into the industry? “Don’t feel like you deserve anything… because you don’t. These days it seems like there is a lot of entitlement. All the young kids want to be paid to ride out. Don’t be afraid to start on the bottom and work your way up. If you work hard and are motivated, you’ll succeed in fishing. If you look around at tournaments, most guys pull the same thing. But if you pay attention to detail, you can stand out.”
You can find Captain Chris Kubik and the Point Runner available for charter out of Oregon Inlet most of the year. In the winter time, Kubik runs a private boat – the Sea Hag, a 61-foot Blackwell – in Florida and Isla Mujeres. If you’d like to book a trip with Captain Chris Kubik, send him a note at Chris@pointrunner.com
or visit www.pointrunner.com.
Here are some boats of interest sold this November. Congratulations to both the buyers and sellers.
2011 42’7” Viking
Engines: Cummins QSC 8.3 Zeus
List Price: $695,000
Sold Date: 11/9/2018
2013 50’ Viking
List Price: $1,395,000
Sold Date: 11/15/2018
Sold By: HMY Yacht Sales
2000 55’ Viking
Engines: MAN 2842LE
List Price: $539,000
Sold Date: 11/27/2018
Sold By: HMY Yachts
by Dave Ferrell
Capt. Peter B. Wright, a guy that’s caught quite a lot of giant marlin, often says that the best fishing teams aren’t determined by how big a fish they catch…It’s how many they catch that matters. Wright’s logic says that you can’t determine the exact size of the fish that takes your bait, but you can control how many bites you get, and how many fish you successfully capture out of those bites.
Therefore, it is the team that can get a bite, catch a fish and then redeploy the baits quickly to get yet another bite that usually comes out on top in a numbers-based release event. It is for this reason that any team that places in the top five of an east Florida sailfish tournament can probably be plopped down in any of the world’s billfish hot spots and be kicking butt in no time at all. Fishing for sails in Florida is a numbers game. Those who play it seem to be getting faster and more efficient with every passing season.
Change is Good
While it might not seem like it to those close to the sport, a lot of things have changed over the years for those targeting sails. Not too long ago, it was wire leaders and split-tailed mullet that caught all the sails from West Palm to Key West. These days its dredge fishing, circle hooks, 40-pound fluorocarbon leaders and live-bait kite fishing that dominates the scene. When the bite gets hot, usually during the winter months, double digit days become commonplace and good crews can really rack up the numbers. Catching double digit Florida sails is not as easy as many people think…Atlantic sails can be finicky on the bite and only a tight-lipped white marlin is harder to hook than a petite Palm Beach sail.
Two changes are perhaps the most profound. For one thing, we don’t keep them anymore. That leaves a lot more of them available for you to catch. “The first Miami Billfish Tournament was a one-point-per-pound event. The second year it was a hybrid with points for release and killed fish,” says Capt. Ray Rosher, owner the Miss Britt out of Miami, Florida. “Later on, we all complained bitterly when we were forced to use circle hooks in the tournaments. Now we would pay double to get to use them…sometimes, change is good.” Those two changes alone, the advent of the release ethic and the use of circle hooks, probably contribute as much, or more, to today’s double-digit numbers than any learned technique. Besides knowing how to kite fish, of course.
The practice of fishing live baits on circle hooks, dangling the baits just at, or below the water’s surface, is probably the most effective way to catch good numbers of sailfish, especially if they are concentrated in a certain area or depth. Capt. Bouncer Smith, who charter fishes his Bouncer’s Dusky, out of Miami, is an expert kite fisherman and has seen quite a few innovations in the game. “I had a customer one time that was watching me struggle with some helium balloons on a calm day. He decided he was going to help me out and invent a kite-shaped helium balloon,” said Bouncer. “He tinkered with the idea for a couple of years and tried to come up with a helium-filled kite that measured 36 x 36 x 4 inches. It had a lot of potential, but it never came to fruition.”
“Probably the two most notable things I’ve seen recently are the use of Mylar dredges in the kite spread and the use of underwater lights during the daytime,” says Bouncer. “They will take a dredge teaser, fill it with Mylar strips with ballyhoo or some other baitfish imprinted on them, and then hang it under a bullet float in between two kites.” Wave and wind action bobs the loaded dredge up and down and brings fish into sight range of the kite baits. “Guys are also strobing their underwater lights during the day to get fish’s attention as well,” says Bouncer.
“I usually use a sea anchor most of the time so that requires power fishing. This winter I plan on hanging one of those mylar dredges right underneath the center console. I think it will do well underneath the boat,” he says.
Not one to stay comfortable in the way he does things, Bouncer is willing to give anything a go if he thinks it might bring more action. “At one time, we put some underwater speakers out to see if they would attract sails and get them to come to the boat. We played the same noise that scientists use to call sharks [low frequency, pulsed, white noise], but it didn’t seem to work for us,” said Bouncer.
“I’m waiting for the day when a guy pulls his kites in and starts flying his lines out on a pair of drones! Can you imagine that? Not having to worry about the wind? Just two drones sitting out there at the perfect height…not even having to watch them? That would be the cat’s meow,” says Bouncer.
Good numbers only breed more innovation, as crews try to catch just one more fish than the guys in the next slip. Few work harder at trying to catch more fish, quickly and efficiently than Rosher. On top of his charter boat operations, Rosher also owns R&R Tackle – a company that manufactures all manner of innovative tackle and accessories. Most of the products he sells came about by trying to fulfill a need that he encountered on his daily outings.
Even so, he doesn’t make or sell either of his first two picks for recent great sailfish innovations. “One of the big changes,” says Rosher, “is the use of super-fast electric kite reels to retrieve the kites. Consequently, these reels have taught the guys the benefits of speed. We all have a basic understanding of how to take care of our baits, make the proper rigs, set up for a drift correctly etc. Now, it’s become a lot like NASCAR, where the quickest pit crews get the cars around faster. In fishing, the crew that gets the bites, and then redeploys quickly, catches more double and triples…and wins more tournaments,” says Rosher.
Rosher uses Hooker kite reels for several reasons. “I believe they are the fastest kite reels out there,” he says. “I don’t have experience with a lot of the other brands, but these are pretty fast reels. Guys used to be happy just having ANY electric reel, now we have these ultra-fast ones that can clear big marks. This allows you to put four clips on a kite line instead of three, which allows you to fish four lines on each side. And all four clips can fit on one kite reel.”
Even something so seemingly insignificant as a kite clip can become an item of intense scrutiny in Rosher’s quest for increased speed and efficiency. Rosher’s newly designed M2 clips are a fraction of the weight of traditional clips and excel on day’s with very light winds. “They work in all winds actually, but they really help on calm days. Even if you are using helium assist, kite lines will sag on calm days, and any added weight makes them sag even more. If your kite line is sagging and you get bit, a fish can burn through your other baits in an instant. Elevation is your friend in kite fishing. If your kite isn’t sagging you can lift the other baits out of the water and then get another bite. These clips allow you to fish more clips on very calm days.”
The additional clip also gives you the option of putting more baits out when one gets bit. “If the long gets bit, you can advance the other two baits and add another short. This puts a new bait right back into the spot where you got the first bite and results in a large number of doubles and triples,” says Rosher. “During a recent event we had some pretty tough fishing, but we got a bite on our right long – our shallowest bait. We backed up on it and caught it. I decided to put all of our stuff out a little shallower. By the time we had caught that one fish, all of our baits were up in our little tubes and I was moving an 1/8th of a mile back up in front of the pack. We ended up catching seven of them and doubled the next boat. I’m not trying to be some kind of braggart either, I’m just saying that good team work – speed and efficiency – wins tournaments.”
Advancements in kite design also allow you to spend more days on the water. “Kites have improved significantly,” says Rosher. “With both Lewis and SFE putting a lot of emphasis on light and heavy wind models. The ultralights really help if they can keep me from having to blow up a balloon with helium.”
As always, picking the right reel for the job is critical, especially when dealing with the long distances and light tackle commonly used when targeting sails with kites. “All of my reels are designed specifically for live bait sail fishing. Which means they have to have a high speed retrieve and very consistent drags. The reel I use is the Penn Fathom 40 NLDHS (Narrow Lever Drag High Speed). It retails for $249 and that’s very reasonable…I’m currently on my third season with the reels on my boat. There are others that do the same thing, but these are the ones I can talk about because I use them every day.”
Details Make a Difference
Nowhere was it more evident on how far Rosher will go to improve efficiency than when he talked about the design on his new rigging needles for live baits. “We like to bridle our live baits when kite fishing and we use a needle that we made to use with our specific bands,” he says. “Instead of a hole, it has a restrictor that lets you snap a band in place quickly and easily. It’s a synthetic needle [not metal] with soft edges so you can’t snag or damage a band. I tried to make them of metal, but I couldn’t make them as soft as I needed them to be. These are plenty strong enough to do the job, plus I can round the edges and flatten the sides to keep them from rolling around on a flat surface.”
“Our rigging bands come in two sizes, ½-inch and 1 3/8-inch, in either black or clear. They are made to our exact specifications because it’s really hard to get that sweet spot of being strong but not too strong. They need to hold the bait, but then let it go away on the hookup. You don’t want them to stay too well attached. I saw in Australia how those big baits tied on with 130-pound Dacron wouldn’t come off and the fish would come up shaking its head, throwing the whole thing away.”
It’s no secret that boats frequently placing near the top of most sailfish tournaments in south Florida use pen-raised live baits. Rosher, who does quite well in tournaments, is known as a master at raising and keeping live baits. “I put all of our focus on products that I needed…things I couldn’t find out in the marketplace. Our bait pens come with a food tray in them, and we even sell food…wet or dry. Our double fine mesh bait nets allow you to transfer large amounts of live baits very quickly, without damaging the slime layer. They even have a clear plastic bottom that holds water to keep them lubricated, but also fools the baits into swimming straight into the net instead of trying to avoid it.” Rosher even makes small bait tubes for pilchards and goggle eyes that feature adjustable, individual flow controls and that allow you to store bridled baits ready for deployment as soon as the boat stops.
Old School Too
Kite fishing might have inched ahead with more recent sail fishing innovations, and that’s just fine for traditional troll fisherman like Tony Huerta, owner of the Lo Que Sea. Huerta and crew are regular top five finishers in many of the most prestigious marlin and sailfish tournaments in south Florida and the Bahamas. Huerta chuckled when I asked him what, if anything, he’s been doing differently over the last few years that he thought might have improved his odds.
“We are doing the exact same things. We might pull a bigger dredge on tournament days – triples or even quads, but nothing much is different. We’ve got a blue and white dredge on one side, and a blue and black on the other. We still pull green squids and a blue and white express with a mackerel in it. We prospect one side, all day long, even in sunny conditions. A lot of boats use high speed reels, but we still use TLD 20 two speeds. I think a lot of anglers pull the baits away from the fish with the high speeds. There’s really not much to it…run them over and hang on to the ones you see,” he says.
Oh, if it were just that easy.
An interesting man in many contexts – Captain Bouncer Smith catches quality fish of many species (from swordfish to tarpon to sailfish and snapper). Here’s the full Old Salt interview with Capt. Bouncer at his slip in Miami Beach Marina.
For more on Bouncer’s story, check out the December Issue hitting the docks this week!