CATCH AND RELEASE FISHING FOR RECORDS: Where there’s a will, there’s a way

While catch and release is mandatory in the All-Tackle Length program, many anglers are making sure their line class and fly rod record catches swim away healthy too! Mark and Charlotte Sampson of Maryland, USA, are avid shark anglers and together hold 12 light tackle and fly records with shark species alone – many of which have been released alive.  Realizing that they must protect the species today in order to fish it tomorrow, the Sampsons have used their ingenuity to develop various methods and devices to accurately weigh their record catches and conform to IGFA Regulations.

Bahamian boat builder and angler Colin Rose shares the Sampsons sentiment and has perfected a system of landing, weighing and tagging 90+kg (200+lb) tiger sharks that he submits for light tackle line class records.  He uses a custom-built tripod that supports a certified IWS ScaleMaster II and a heavy-duty cloth harness attached to a pulley system to weigh the fish. After the weight and the length/girth measurments are recorded, the shark is tagged and gently lowered and released back into the water.  The entire process takes no more than a few minutes.

Increasing numbers of anglers are getting creative to protect the fish they love to catch,and the Sampsons and Colin Rose are two of many examples of anglers catching fish for records and still successfully practicing catch-and-release. To learn about these catches and to check your catch and release ideas with the IGFA before weighing a potential recordfish, please contact Records Coordinator Jack Vitek at 954-924-4246 or

Reprinted by permission of the International Game Fish Association from Vol. 74 No. 5 Sept/Oct 2011 ofInternational Angler Magazine.

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IGFA 2011 Oceanside Pier Kids’ Fishing Derby

Photo courtesy of

Recent news out of Oceanside, CA says that the junior anglers are eager to get their lines in the water.  The IGFA 2011 Oceanside Pier Kids’ Fishing Derby, held a couple of weeks ago, entertained entrants ages 6-15, and was nothing short of fantastic. Many of us in the fishing community would agree that a Saturday of fishing is probably something we look forward to the most, but these kids do a wonderful job of bringing us back to the pure joy of this sport.  They provided free equipment and lunch for the 109 entries as well as their parents. The IGFA supplied an atmosphere that welcomed many kids who will undoubtedly be a new generation eager to enter the world of fishing.

Although the fishing was a little slow, the anglers, many who were fishing for the first time, managed to pull in a nice variety of SoCal.  The winners were: 6-year-old Carlos Cruz, 7-year-old Emily Dipitro, 8-year-old Kathryn Oh, 9-year-old Riley Bryant, 10-year-old Angel Flores, 11-year-old Elvis Rivera, 12-year-old Claire Christy, 13-year-old Mikey Pugh, 14-year-old Edward Dizon, and 15-year-old David Hernandez (who was the grand champion in 2010). The Grand Champion this year was Mikey Pugh. Each of the winners received a new rod and reel, an autographed copy of Pier Fishing in California, and a beautiful IGFA certificate.

Quotes and pictures courtesy of

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Record Set at Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore

Bisbee\’s record marlin at the weigh-in

Bisbee’s East Cape Offshore came to a close on July 31st with a new record for the books. A very nice run was seen by the 61 boats that entered the tournament in its now 12 years of competition. Chucky Van Wormer caught a marlin weighing in at 557lbs and was the only marlin to qualify to be weighed. That catch netted Mr. Van Wormer $238, 569.

The fish totals for the tournament were 39 blue marlin, 38 striped marlin, 2 black marlin, and 26 sailfish bringing the overall total at 105 billfish.

“It’s been a great way to kick off another tournament season here in beautiful Baja. We had a near-record field of boats, some great anglers and cooperative weather… everyone is tuned up and ready to go for the rest of the season, and I’m sure it’s going to be a good one, Wayne Bisbee said on the Tournament’s website.

Bisbee’s next tournament is the Los Cabos Offshore October 18-22 in Cabo San Lucas.

Information, quotes and picture courtesy of For a complete list of Standings and other top fish weighed, please go to their website.

Team #57 La Hielera & Co., 31′ Bertram
557 lb. blue marlin caught by Chucky Van Wormer : $238,569.00
New Tournament Records for blue marlin (previous 2010 441 lbs. on Cowboy VII) and single cash payout (previous 2005 $224,244 Adam’s Folly)
Capt. David Almanza, Team from Los Barriles
• Chucky Van Wormer
• Kiko Vega

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Fishing and Aloha Spirit Abundant at Kona Tournament

Five days of brilliant fishing in Kona, HI came to a close this past weekend at the 52nd Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. 28 teams competed this year, with Port Vila Game Fishing Club out of Vanuatu taking first place. New Zealands Bay of Islands Swordfish Club #2 took second place, as well as bonus points for catching the biggest Blue Marlin of the Tournament.

Peter Fithian, who founded the tournament in 1959 had this to say about the tournament on the HIBT website. Every year, the Big Island of Hawaii extends such warmth and aloha to the anglers and their families. HIBT thanks this community for 52 years of aloha. All 28 teams putting points on the scoreboard really emphasized Kona’s internationally acclaimed reputation for great sportfishing. 2011 proved to be another fantastic year at HIBT.

Dates are already in place for next years tournament, so make sure to sign up early for what will surely be another wonderful tournament on the Big Island.


Pacific blue marlin tagged & released -54
Pacific blue marlin weighed – 5
Striped marlin tagged & released – 1
Short nose spearfish tagged & released – 18
Ahi boated -3


1) Port Vila Game Fishing Club – 2,000 points
2) Bay of Islands Swordfish Club #2 – 1,570 points
3) Game Fishing Club of South Australia – 1,219 points

All totals, standings, and quotes courtesy of

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Tournament Fishermen Hook Up With Conservationist

Guy Harvey

If you have had any contact with the world of fishing, Guy Harveys name or artwork has most certainly come across your radar. While he is well known in the fishing community for portraying beautiful wildlife on canvas, he has also known for the conservation work he does to ensure wildlife survival. Fred Garth interviewed Mr. Harvey recently, and Guy gave some important information on how tournaments can ensure safer practices for the fish they are catching.

To answer this question let me use the example of a tournament called the White Marlin Open held in early August every year in Ocean City, Maryland. About 1,000 white marlin are caught in the event, mostly on bait. The survivability studies (by Dr. John Graves at VIMS) have shown that approximately one third of all white marlin caught on bait with J-hooks die after being released. That will be approximately 330 white marlin per tournament. The study also showed that 99 percent of white marlin survived being caught on bait rigged with circle hooks. The legislation governing how we fish for billfish when using bait has changed because of this study. Survivability is very high when using circle hooks compared to J-hooks. So, what is the single most important factor? Everyone should use circle hooks.

As seen in Guy Harvey Magazine. To read the interview in its entirety, please go to
Photo courtesy of

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