Team Reel Steel, this year’s Bermuda Triple Crown winner, was dominating throughout the three Bermuda Triple Crown tournaments, scoring 6,600 points from 12 blue marlin and three white marlin releases during nine days of fishing. The 66-foot Hines Farley was consistent in raising fish during all three events.
Utilizing a team effort, Reel Steel won two of the three legs of the Bermuda Triple Crown, including the Bermuda Billfish Blast and Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament. They finished second place in the team division of the Bermuda Big Game Classic. The team consisted of owner Mike Verzaleno, Captain Jason Parker, mate Drake Cropper, John Cantiverii, Charles Coats, Kayla Verzaleno and Marc Verzaleno.
Runner-up Team Flyer, an 86-foot Merritt, scored 6,000 points in the Bermuda Triple Crown from 12 blue marlin releases. Team Flyer won the 2019 Bermuda Big Game Classic and was neck and neck with Reel Steel going into the third leg of the Bermuda Triple Crown. The team consisted of owners Kevin and Teresa Jaffe, Captain Bryce Garvey, mate Mike Overton, mate Mike Tarmey, Greg Axton, Dylan Jaffe, Gotzon Otxoa and Mark Woodbury.
Third place went to Team Big Deal, a 75-foot Spencer, scoring 3,700 points from seven blue marlin and one white marlin release. Big Deal had two top-10 finishes in the Bermuda Triple Crown to jump ahead of Team Pescador with 3,600 points. Team Big Deal consisted of owner Ed Russo, Captain Brian Rabbit, mate Ben Zafir, mate Sergio Vargas, Matthew Russo, Bill Pembroke, Kim Pembroke and Mike Pembroke.
All three teams entered the new Bermuda Triple Crown Jackpot at the beginning of the series, so each team received a check for their performances.
- First Place, Reel Steel, $58,500
- Second Place, Flyer, $35,100
- Third Place, Big Deal, $23,400
This is the first time Team Reel Steel won the Bermuda Triple Crown, although it’s not their first time competing in the tournaments. Mike and Marc Verzaleno handled the angling duties, catching all the billfish for the team. The team picked up $293,760 in total winnings on their way to the Bermuda Triple Crown series win. For their series win, Reel Steel was awarded VanMark custom rings, King Sailfish Mounts trophy, Garmin Quatix watches, Bacardi Special Edition Rum, Costa sunglasses, Grundens boots, AFTCO Championship apparel, Soundview Millworks trophy, and Steve Goione limited-edition Bermuda Triple Crown print. The boat also received a Release Marine custom trophy, YETI cooler, AFTCO harness, AFTCO gaff, AFTCO belt, Lucas Oil products, Baitmasters of South Florida gift certificate, and custom Big T Lures.
The big fish of the season was caught during the Bermuda Big Game Classic on day three by angler Jason Friedman, aboard the boat Overproof, captained by Peter Rans. Back at the scales, the fish weighed 697 pounds. For their fish, the team won the Day-Three Largest Marlin Jackpot and Winner-Take-All Largest Marlin Jackpot. This is almost a repeat of 2018, when Freidman landed a 930-pound blue marlin on day three of the Bermuda Big Game Classic.
The other two top marlin weighed this year were by Blank Check and American Beauty. On day two of the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament, Blank Check, captained by Danny Hearn, landed a 666-pound blue marlin caught by angler Steven Walker. The blue marlin won Blank Check all three days of the Largest Marlin Jackpot and the Winner-Take-All Largest Marlin Jackpot. On day two of the Bermuda Big Game Classic, American Beauty, captained by Travis Rolan, landed a 616-pound blue marlin caught by angler Aaron Fenn. The blue marlin won American Beauty the day two Largest Marlin Jackpot for the tournament.
In total, 9 qualifying fish over the 500-pound minimum were landed during the 2019 Bermuda Triple Crown with one from the Bermuda Billfish Blast, seven from the Bermuda Big Game Classic, and one from the Sea Horse Anglers Club Billfish Tournament. None of the top three teams in the Bermuda Triple Crown weighed a marlin.
Many of the participants continued to support the Costa IGFA Great Marlin Race Pop-up Satellite Archival Tag (PSAT) program. Before the tournament season began, Costa Sunglasses and the IGFA fished aboard Team Fa-La-Me to target and tag blue marlin. A sponsored tag was also deployed by teams Reel Steel, Fa-La-Me and Waste Knot during the series.
IGFA Announces 2019 Tommy Gifford Award Winners
Honoring the Top Captains, Guides and Crew in Angling History
DANIA BEACH, Fla. – June 28, 2019 – The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) today announced its 2019 Tommy Gifford Award winners in recognition of their significant contributions to recreational angling as captains, guides or crew.
This year’s recipients include big-game angling pioneer Captain Peter Bristow; renowned billfish champion Captain Bubba Carter; Australian charter legend and adventurer Captain John Cross; famed Florida Keys inshore guide Captain Billy Knowles; New Zealand angling great and swordfish pioneer Captain Bruce Smith; and IGFA World Record and light tackle extraordinaire Captain R.T. Trosset. These recreational angling greats will be honored at the IGFA Tommy Gifford Awards Ceremony during the 60th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on October 31, 2019, at the iconic Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“Named for Tommy Gifford, one of the greatest saltwater charter captains of all time, this prestigious award recognizes incredible personal achievements and innovative contributions to the development of our sport,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “For many recreational anglers, charter captains and crews are the key to the angling experience as they open up a world of opportunities not always available to the average angler.”
The 2019 recipients were selected by the IGFA Legendary Captains & Crew Committee, a distinguished panel of internationally renowned captains and mates chaired by Captain Skip Smith. Previous winners include Jose Wejebe, Allen and Buddy Merritt, Ron Hamlin, Charles Perry, Ralph Delph, Laurie Wright, Jimmie Albright, Bouncer Smith, Steve Lassley and more.
“On behalf of the entire Legendary Captains & Crew Committee, it is such an honor to be able to recognize these captains, guides and crew members from around the world every year,” said LC&C Chairman Skip Smith. “We need to keep this history alive and honor the contributions these greats have made to our sport.”
Captain Peter Bristow
Born in Brisbane, Queensland, in July 1938, Peter Bristow has long been a famous figure in local and international game fishing circles. In 1968, he moved to Cairns, Australia, to begin work on big game fishing vessels. The following year, he built the Avalon, a 38-foot sportfishing boat and operated out of Cairns for 23 years. He is credited as being one of the early pioneers that established Cairns, Australia, as the world’s epicenter for giant black marlin. In 1996, Peter turned his sights to blue marlin in the Atlantic and began a successful charter operation in Madeira, Portugal, fishing on the Katherine B that continues today.
Captain Bubba Carter
South Carolina native Bubba Carter first fished offshore at the age of six and received his captains license two days after turning 18. He has been a prominent figure in destinations including Cairns, St. Thomas, Isla Mujeres, Venezuela and Costa Rica. He has released over 20,000 billfish, caught 11 over 1,000 pounds and has several IGFA World Records to his credit. Today, Carter is based out of Los Suenos, Costa Rica, where he captains the Tijereta.
Captain John Cross
Born in Australia in 1954, John Cross moved to Cairns and established a charter operation with his brother. He is credited with pioneering the popper fishery for giant trevally on the Great Barrier Reef. Cross relocated to Papua New Guinea in 1991 and began exploring its inshore and offshore waters. He later served as the President of the Game Fishing Association of Papua New Guinea from 1996-1998, where he brought the club into the modern age.
Captain Billy Knowles
Billy Knowles is a fourth-generation captain and one of the best-known names in the Florida Keys. He received his captain’s license in 1961 and the list of notable people he has fished includes the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Grace Kelly, President George H.W. Bush, President Herbert Hoover and Ted Williams. Knowles has dozens of tournament victories to his credit including the Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament, Don Hawley Tarpon Tournament, Spring Fly Bonefish Tournament and Fall All-Tackle Bonefish Tournament. He still is actively guiding clients in the Florida Keys at the age of 78.
Captain Bruce Smith
Bruce Smith came to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand in 1977 with the idea of working for a few weeks as a deck hand, but never left. Smith learned his craft under the mentorship of Tommy Gifford Awardee Snooks Fuller on the Lady Doreen, which he later went on to captain himself. He is well-known as an accomplished billfish captain in New Zealand’s waters and helped pioneer its swordfish fishery. He later became the President of the prestigious Bay of Islands Swordfish Club.
Captain R.T. Trosset
R.T. Trosset has been guiding anglers to scores IGFA World Record catches in Key West, Florida, for over four decades. He excels in fishing with conventional and fly tackle and is a master at catching everything from tarpon to tuna. His client list is impressive and not only consists of notable IGFA record holders such as Dotty Ballantyne and Gene DuVal, but also sports figures including Andy Mill, Don Shula and Dick Butkus. During the height of his career, he was booked as many as 285 days a year and he still guides anglers to “the fish of their lifetime” 130 days a year.
The namesake of the award, Tommy Gifford (1896-1970) is considered one of the most innovative blue water anglers who ever lived, and one of the greatest charter skippers to guide anglers to the major game fishes of the sea. Over the course of his 50-year career, he developed an encyclopedic knowledge of game fish and techniques to catch them, and he served as guide and consultant to some of the most famous names in saltwater angling, including Ernest Hemingway, Michael Lerner, Charlie Lehman and Van Campen Heilner. He never lost his zest for the sea, or his awe at the creatures beneath the waves. Raymond Camp wrote, “Big game angling has a brief history, but Tommy Gifford’s name is sharply etched on every page.”
Friday December 28th, 2018
La Romana Dom. Rep.
Sunday December 23rd established a very important feat for sport fishing In the Dominican Republic and the world as Luis Viyella captured the biggest Yellowfin Tuna (Thunnus Albacares) ever captured in spearfishing, and the biggest one ever captured in any form of fishing worldwide. The Tuna weighed in at an astounding 480 pounds, it measured 109 inches in length and 62 inches in width.
Luis Viyella together with Gabriel Pinto, Phillipe Coates and crew Jose Francisco Brea, Fevorinki Avila and Alberto de los Santos aboard the boat Lady Shell (Viking 68 sport fisherman) established a new world record (still pending confirmation) in spearfishing for this species, the previous biggest Yellowfin Tuna captured with spear was 353 pounds by Julian Allen-Ellis in Mexico in 2007 according to the International Spearfishing Association.
On the other hand, and according to the IGFA (International Game Fishing Association) the world record for the biggest Yellowfin Tuna ever captured using Rod & Reel belongs to Guy Yacom, which was also captured in Mexico on September 18th, 2012 weighing in at 427 pounds.
The fish was weighed a few hours after being captured using a certified scale and with over 20 witnesses on the dock at Marina Casa de Campo.
Luis Viyella tells us that “it was an unforgettable experience, it was my first time spearfishing in blue waters and to capture a fish that is a world record.” Luis assures us that it was pure luck to find a fish this size and to capture it requires a lot of skill and knowledge in this type of fishing.
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
The Florida Panhandle to Receive Support from the IGFA’s Worldwide Anglers Relief Fund
DANIA BEACH, Fla. November 15, 2018 – The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) today announced the first grant to the recreational angling community in the Florida Panhandle from its Worldwide Anglers Relief Fund (WARF). Working with our partners at the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO), the IGFA has recently arranged the transfer of $10,000 from the WARF to aid in the recovery efforts of the extensive charter fishing operations throughout Florida’s Panhandle.
Leveraging NACO’s extensive network of members and a thorough application process, the funds from the WARF will be disbursed to those captains, guides and mates that are in the most need. “We are excited to partner with a longstanding organization like the IGFA to help our guiding community in the wake of Hurricane Michael,” said NACO President Bob Zales.
The IGFA and its partner Costa created the WARF in September 2017. “Recreational anglers, professional captains, guides and mates form the backbone of many coastal communities like the Florida Panhandle,” said Costa Marketing Manager of Core Markets, Amanda Sabin. “Costa is proud to be a part of this rebuilding process and helping to get people back on the water.”
With this recent distribution of $10,000 to NACO for relief efforts in the Florida Panhandle, the WARF has disbursed a total of $56,000 dollars to recreational angling associations in the Florida Keys, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Florida Panhandle to help local captains and guides recover from Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, Maria and Michael, respectively.
“The Florida Panhandle supports an incredible fishery and thousands of captains, guides and mates base their livelihoods on the flow of recreational anglers to this region,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “While we are saddened by the devastation of this recent storm, we are excited to help the recreational angling community rebuild even stronger through our partnership with NACO.”
To make a direct, tax deductible contribution to the WARF, consumers can go to https://igfa.org/warf, or purchase a Costa t-shirt in support of recovery efforts at onecoast.net. The IGFA is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
Blue Marlin Tagged in Bermuda Swims 5,089 Nautical Miles to Win 2017-2018 IGFA Great Marlin Race
DANIA BEACH, Fla. – July 9, 2018 – The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) today announced that a blue marlin satellite-tagged on July 21, 2017, during the Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship has won the 2017-2018 IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR).
The winning billfish swam an estimated 5,089 nautical miles (nm) in total or 2,658 nm point-to-point from Bermuda to about 600 nm northeast of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. This is the longest distance ever recorded by an IGMR-tagged blue marlin in Bermuda.
“Congratulations to tag sponsor Mike Verzaleno whose generosity allowed us to track the incredible journey of the winning billfish,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “Strong support from recreational anglers is the key to the success of this innovative, citizen-science conservation initiative.”
The IGMR is a partnership between IGFA and Stanford University that pairs recreational anglers with cutting-edge science to learn more about the basic biology of marlin and how they utilize the open ocean habitat. The goal of the program is to deploy 50 pop-up archival tags (PAT) in marlin at billfish tournaments around the world each year.
Since 2011, more than 350 satellite tags have been placed on billfish during IGMR tagging events. In the 2017-2018 race season, 58 tags were deployed on 31 blue marlin, 18 black marlin and nine striped marlin in seven countries around the world.
Marlin tagged in Bermuda during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Triple Crown Billfish Championship tournaments swam a total of 16,464 nm and the winning fish accounts for 16 percent of this distance.
To learn more about the IGFA Great Marlin Race, visit https://igmr.igfa.org/Conserve/IGMR.aspx.
The International Gamefish Association is the world’s source for fishing records and angling rules. The IGFA recently announced changes to the rules. These may affect your program, especially as it relates to record fishing. Two significant changes are language that defines who a third party may and may not assist the angler during a fight and when and if it is permissible to use backing when record fishing.
CHANGES TO THE INTERNATIONAL ANGLING RULES
Assisting the Angler
Current IGFA International Angling Rules state that “the act of a person other than the angler touching the rod, reel, or line either bodily or with a device once the fish strikes or takes the bait” constitutes a disqualification. However, nowhere in the IGFA’s rules do we discuss the legality of another person touching or making contact with the angler. The IGFA is frequently questioned on the legality of touching the angler while they are fighting a fish.
In order to clarify this important subject, the IGFA will be adding the following language to the section 3 of Disqualifying Acts: “Holding or touching an angler in a manner that assists them in fighting the fish or takes pressure off the angler. Touching or briefly holding the angler to prevent them from falling does not constitute a disqualification”.
This change is effective April 1, 2017.
Backing & Top-Shot
Current IGFA International Angling Rules state: “If the fishing line is attached to backing, the catch shall be classified under the heavier of the lines.” This rule has long been contested in cases where the main line or top shot is lighter than the underlying backing, as logic dictates that the lighter line will break before the heavier backing. This is also contrary to IGFA angling rules for fly fishing where the catch is categorized based on the breaking strength of the class tippet, which must be a minimum of 15 inches.
To address this issue, IGFA will be making the following alterations to Equipment Regulation A:
- Title change from “LINE” to “LINE & BACKING”
- Adding a new subsection that reads: “3. The use of backing is permissible.”
- Adding a new subsection that reads: “4. The catch shall be classified under the breaking strength of the first 16.5 feet (5 meters) of line directly preceding the double line, leader or hook. This section must be comprised of a single, homogenous piece of line.”
This change is effective April 1, 2017.
CHANGES TO WORLD RECORD REQUIREMENTS
Minimum Ratio Requirements
Currently, to submit a line class or tippet class (fly rod) world record, the only weight requirement is that the fish must weigh at least .45 kg (1 lb). As a result, the IGFA has accumulated a significant amount of records where the weight of the fish is much lighter than the size of the tackle used to land the fish. In an effort to have IGFA world records better recognize outstanding angling achievement, the IGFA has established the following minimum ratio requirements for all new line class and tippet class world records:
For line class categories up to and including 10 kg (20 lb) and all tippet class (fly rod) categories:
The weight of the catch must weigh at least ½ as much as the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered for the 6 kg (12 lb) line class or tippet class category must weigh a minimum of 3 kg.
For line class categories greater than 10 kg (20 lb):
- The weight of the catch must be equal to, or greater than the line class it is eligible for. For example, a fish entered in the 24 kg (50 lb) line class category must weigh a minimum of 24 kg.
Minimum ratios will not be retroactive and records that currently do not meet the new minimum weight requirements will not be retired. Records listed in the 2017 World Record Book and IGFA website will have a new column that instructs anglers what the minimum weight necessary is to establish a record for each line class.
This change is effective April 1, 2017.
CHANGES TO RECOGNIZED GAME FISH SPECIES
Eligible Game Fish Species
The IGFA maintains All-Tackle world records for thousands of different species, however only certain game fish species are eligible for the additional line class, tippet class (fly rod), and Junior Angler world record categories. In an effort to better recognize premier game fish species around the world that merit having line classes, the IGFA will no longer be accepting line class, tippet class (fly rod), and Junior Angler world records on the 45 species of freshwater and saltwater fish listed below:
Freshwater: rock bass, shoal bass, white bass, yellow bass, bluegill, black bullhead, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, burbot, white catfish, black crappie, white crappie, freshwater drum, Florida gar, shortnose gar, spotted gar, oscar, European perch, white perch, yellow perch, chain pickerel, red piranha, shorthead redhorse, silver redhorse, sauger, American shad, hickory shad, splake, green sunfish, redbreast sunfish, redear sunfish, tench, warmouth, lake whitefish, mountain whitefish, round whitefish
Saltwater: Pacific barracuda, black seabass, Japanese parrotperch, spotted parrotperch, Florida pompano, doublespotted queenfish, black-blue rockfish, Atlantic spadefish, oxeye tarpon
This change is effective February 1, 2017.
Check out the tracks tagged marlin travel associated with the IGFA Marlin Race.
Listen in as Capt. Peter B. Wright explains how to keep it simple to catch more fish.
Know the Limitations of your Boat and Crew [Read more…]