IGFA Great Marlin Race Launches at SJIBT
The IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) officially got underway at the Club Nautico de San Juan’s 58th Annual International Billfish Tournament (IBT) that was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 5-11. As the inaugural event for the IGMR, the IBT was a resounding success with all 10 tags being sponsored by individuals or teams by the first day of fishing!
IGFA President Rob Kramer, Dr. Randy Kochevar from Stanford University and IGFA Conservation Director Jason Schratwieser were onsite to provide instructions to teams that purchased tags and also ride along with several teams over the course of the tournament to help deploy tags. We envisioned that it would take most of the tournament to get all 10 tags sponsored so we felt that five tag sticks would probably be enough for any given day on the water. Boy, were we wrong! Luckily, Randy had brought along an additional five titanium applicator tips, which, with the help of a few dollars’ worth of miscellaneous hardware, were then attached to wooden mop handles to make five additional perfectly functional, albeit slightly unaesthetic, tag sticks.
Even though fishing was cut short by one day due to Tropical Storm Maria, the 185 anglers from 12 countries fishing aboard 51 boats released 84 blue marlin and deployed six of the 10 tags.
The first day of fishing saw three tags deployed. Angler, Charles Donato on the Islamar caught the first tagged marlin a little after 10:30 in the morning. Less than 10 minutes after capture the feisty 150 lb blue swam off in good health and sporting some new and expensive jewelry. Moses Torrent caught the second fish of the day on the Batichica and Mike Benitez on Sea Born scored the last tagged fish of the day with brute estimated 575 lb.
Day two of fishing saw a 125 lb blue caught by Antonio Fullana aboard the Bolita that was tagged by his uncle and IGFA Representative, Jaime Fullana. Later that day, IGFA Trustee Pepe Anton’s boat, Amirita saw action with a 250 lb marlin caught by longtime friend, Norman Pichardo and tagged by Jason Schratwieser.
The IGMR had its very first lady angler on day three. Ms. Mariana Fuster landed a 200 lb blue after a 45 minute fight that was quickly tagged by Jorge Rivera. Mariana was excited beyond belief when she turned in her tag data sheet and has informed us that she has named her marlin “Vic” and can’t wait to see where he’s gone after 120 days.
The additional three tags that were sponsored but not deployed during the tournament are on boats as we speak and will be deployed in marlin as soon as possible, which will be also eligible for the 58th IBT Race as well as the overall annual race.-Jason Schratwieser, IGFA Conservation Director