MONGO Offshore Challenge, Oct. 6, 2021—The 2021 MONGO Offshore Challenge has concluded, again with an impressive heavy weight leaderboard. The 132 boat fleet represented all 5 Gulf states, with more than 2,000 anglers. The teams competed for 5 months to see who could catch the largest Blue Marlin, Swordfish, Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahi of the season. We took their top official weights from other approved Big game tournaments and weights from our 20 Official MONGO weigh stations throughout the Gulf coast.
By Nichole Osinski
Mid-April and the guys in Texas are already at it again, this time with yet another pending Texas state record giant bluefin tuna. The giant was caught just one year after the previous record was set raising the bar for anglers once again in the Gulf.
The story, retold by Capt. Justin Drummond, starts early on Tuesday, April 14, on the 64′ Spencer Quantified as the team headed out of Port Aransas in search of a very specific fish—the bluefin tuna.
By ITB Staff
The time was, perhaps not too long ago, that tournament time meant rounding up a few friends, grabbing a half-dozen cases of beer, a handful of plugs and taking a boat ride. During some tournaments, the most important thing to remember was that there needed to be at least one person sober enough to gaff the fish. There are some places in the world where camaraderie and alcohol intake still count for something, but on the whole, the modern fishing tournament scene is marked by extremes.
Most all Texas crews have been focused on yard work or hunting, but there has been an incredible yellowfin tuna bite for the fishermen that have found the time to venture out. After the numerous storms that came ashore in the Gulf this fall, we experienced an abundance of green/freshwater that covered a large portion of the fishing grounds off the Texas coast and lingered for a couple months. Fortunately, there were a few spar rigs and drill ships farther offshore that produced plenty of large yellowfin through the end of the year.
When Charter Fisherman’s Association Speaks, It’s EDF Money that’s Talking
In the last six weeks, we’ve made more progress toward improving the Magnuson-Stevens Act on behalf of recreational anglers than at any time in the last six years.
When you look at how far we’ve come — passage by the full U.S. House of Representatives of Magnuson-Stevens modernization; approval by the Senate Commerce Committee of the Rubio-Nelson Fisheries Management bill, and introduction just last week of Rep. Garret Graves’ H.R.3094 bipartisan legislation to recognize the Gulf States’ historic cooperative plan for improved red snapper fishery management — there’s no question we are gaining major yardage.
That’s why the shrill rhetoric of our adversaries is reaching new heights.
Vastly unpopular in the Gulf region, the Environmental Defense Fund must operate under pseudonyms. One alias (of many) is the “Charter Fisherman’s Association.” Heavily funded by the Washington mega-lobbyists at EDF, when CFA speaks, it’s EDF money doing the talking — and this week, they’ve been doing a lot of it.
My friend Bob Zales is the well-known president of the Panama City Boatmen Association with real-life bona fides as president of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO).
Bob’s perspective: “If you poll the 1,300 federally permitted charter vessel owners in the Gulf, over two-thirds would support the proposed five Gulf State plan and legislation recently introduced in the House.” Zales added, “Charter Fishermans Association is an Environmental Defense Fund-created and -funded association to help push the EDF agenda. Their membership does not represent the majority of charter boat owners in the Gulf. They are heavily financed by EDF so are able to make a lot of noise in key areas. The grass roots charter boat owner is not able to be heard as loudly since they cannot afford to travel to DC, all of the Gulf Council meetings, or areas where a few who are financially supported can.”
Zales speaks the truth. Federally permitted charter owners know, just like we do, that federal Gulf red snapper fishery management is badly broken. These hard-working folks are no more supportive of the status quo than we are, and they trust the states to do a better job, just like we do.
Still, EDF’s money buys a lot of talk — and we have to make sure our Representatives and Senators hear the truth.
We’re making progress, but we can’t stop now. Now’s the time to redouble our efforts to seek out our elected representatives when they conduct Town Hall meetings or hold office hours during the upcoming August Congressional Recess.
Tell your elected representatives how important it is to modernize the Magnuson-Stevens Act so recreational anglers like us can have a fair shake. Remind them of the jobs we create and the money we contribute to fisheries conservation.
Tell them, “I fish — I fish and I vote.”
Center for Coastal Conservation