I really do not know whether to laugh or cry. The 148 boat tournament this last Friday, Saturday, and Sunday only gave up a total of 12 sailfish, 2 blue marlin, and a couple of dorado. This was great for the catch and release of billfish, because there were no fish to be killed. It is very sad the species is being decimated by long lines all up and down the coast, and it is finally beginning to show.
A person may argue the full moon effect hurt the fishing, and no doubt it did. And, they may say there were few dorado or marlin caught…but over the years this was typical in the past tournaments. After almost 30 years the tournament has been held under a full moon many times, with few dorado or marlin taken, but there were always hundreds of sailfish killed.
Plus, there was a lot of controversy, very heated arguments and a lot of short tempers at the final weigh in. It appears the person who won the tournament is also a known long line fisherman. Many a captain said the sailfish turned in had been dead for a long time…like the day before.
It was so bad, they actually held up the awards ceremony, for the first time since the tournaments inception, until the next day.
|From last week when Don Grantges was |
jokingly accusing Cheva of the way he fishes.
This is a part of the long line they retreived
so it would not kill anymore
But, the captains deserved it. They allow long lines to work in their back yard. Hell, they are cousins, brother-in-laws, and compadres involved in the illegal long line fishing.
When the captains charter their boat, they are guaranteed the daily rate, and usually a decent tip. This happens if they catch fish or not.
What they are not paying attention to is the lack of fish compared to what we had in the past. They see it, but write it off every year as to being some other factor involved. But, they also write off the lack of people fishing here from the economy in the states, bad press from the drug wars, etc. It is incredible, but the captains are always optimistic and always think things are going to rebound. And, the economy will, but the people will not come because there are no fish left to catch.
However, when the captains pay more than a thousand dollars of very hard earned money to fish in the tournament, and not even have a chance, because a long liner took the principle prize; this finally got their attention. Plus, and I can’t speak for the captains, but it had to open their eyes a bit with the poor results of the tournament. They are professionals, and have fished these waters and the tournament for almost 30 years now. Maybe this year we will see some actual results from them to put an end to the long lines.
Ed Kunze (IGFA Representative)