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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Some IGFA stuff ... Florida and NJ

Though this event is down in Florida, it offers an interesting read on billfish tourney observers. Below that is info on IGFA NJ event. 

OBSERVER TRAINING


The IGFA will hold an Observer Training Course (OTC) in Dania Beach at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The IGFA OTC trains captains, anglers, and mates to participate as observers in national and international billfish tournaments. IGFA’s OTC benefits both tournaments and our fisheries by promoting billfish conservation through an all release tournament format. The half-day training class will train attendees on IGFA’s International Angling Rules and billfish identification. Additional topics covered in the class include observer etiquette and boating safety. The cost of the class is $150.00, which covers the OTC manual, two DVD’s, and a one-year IGFA membership. The class will run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Click here to download an application. For more information, call Jack Vitek at 954-924-4246 or by email at jvitek@igfa.org.

What is Observer Training?

Over the years, billfish tournaments have transformed into big business enterprises. Many prestigious tournaments now have enormous calcuttas and purses as well as large numbers of participating anglers. With huge purses and egos on the line, concern often arises whether all participants are adhering to the letter of the rules. This causes turmoil for tournament directors and, at its worst, prevents tournaments from adopting release formats. An obvious solution is to have observers on boats to ensure a level playing field. But how do you know if observers have been properly trained and where do you go to find them? The answer is simple; IGFA.

The International Game Fish Association’s Observer classes began as a conservation initiative to allow offshore billfish tournaments the option to go to a 100% release format with trained and experienced observers on board to verify catches and educate anglers about IGFA angling rules. With the decline of many billfish stocks, the importance of release formats in tournaments has increased. As release tournaments become more common and cash payouts increase, unbiased observers become vital in reporting rule infractions as well as for identifying billfish species. Observers can often benefit anglers by preventing inadvertent rule infractions before they even happen. Having observers that are trained to identify billfish species under frantic tournament conditions virtually eliminates the need to bring back dead fish to the dock for official scoring. Observers also raise the prestige level and credibility of tournaments while contributing to conservation efforts with the safe release of tournament billfish.

With the aid of the National Marine Fisheries Service, IGFA has had over 2000 individuals complete the IGFA Observer Training Course. The IGFA Observer Training Course trains captains, mates, and experienced anglers worldwide in one-day training classes. During the class, subjects covered include species identification, IGFA saltwater angling rules, boating safety, and observer responsibilities and etiquette. Once an individual has taken the course, they have the ability to observe in numerous exotic fishing destinations. Tournament locations that are presently utilizing Observers are Costa Rica, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Bermuda, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Turks, Caicos, Bahamas, and Florida.

Through contributions and sponsorship, IGFA endeavors to provide more training opportunities so that more tournaments can utilize observers. IGFA trained Observers and the tournaments that use them play a leadership role in billfish conservation and act as stewards of the sport. The overall goal is to contribute to billfish conservation through the promotion of catch and release and to uphold IGFA angling and tournament rules. Using observers that have been IGFA trained will provide prestige and credibility to any tournament, encouraging more participation.

Interested in taking the IGFA Observer Course?

The IGFA will hold an Observer Training Course (OTC) in Dania Beach at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum on Saturday, April 6, 2013. The IGFA OTC trains captains, anglers, and mates to participate as observers in national and international billfish tournaments. IGFA’s OTC benefits both tournaments and our fisheries by promoting billfish conservation through an all release tournament format. The half-day training class will train attendees on IGFA’s International Angling Rules and billfish identification. Additional topics covered in the class include observer etiquette and boating safety. The cost of the class is $150.00, which covers the OTC manual, two DVD’s, and a one-year IGFA membership. The class will run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Click here to download an application. For more information, call Jack Vitek at 954-924-4246 or by email at jvitek@igfa.org.

Individuals that have completed the IGFA Observer Course are notified of tournaments requiring Observers by email blasts and posts on the IGFA Observer Talk Forum. There is no annual fee to receive these notices, but Observers must keep an up-to-date IGFA membership.

Interested in holding an Observer Training Class in your area?

In addition to holding OTCs at IGFA, we’ve held classes in six different countries, two US territories and a slew of states. Arranging an OTC in your area is a relatively simple affair. IGFA needs a point person to correspond with in planning and promoting the course. That person is responsible for helping recruit interested individuals and for securing a venue to hold the course. Before IGFA can travel to hold a course, we need a commitment, in the form of signed applications, from a minimum of 20 people. This is a great opportunity for angling clubs. If you are interested in holding a course in your area, contact Jack Vitek at 954-924-4320 or jvitek@igfa.org.

Are you a tournament that is interested in using Observers?

There is no charge to use IGFA trained observers. Simply send us an email with the following information:

Tournament’s name and location

Tournament dates

Tournament Director’s name and contact information

Number of Observers needed

Logistics covered by the tournament

Any additional information necessary for Observers

Once we receive this information, we will do a blast email to Observers. IGFA cannot select Observers for tournaments and suggests that Tournament Directors develop a short application for interested Observers that contains the following information:

Observer name, address and contact information

Emergency contact information

Observer experience:
How many tournaments have you observed in?
Have you fished or observed in this part of the world before?
How many of each billfish species have you caught or seen before?

IGFA is a 73 year-old nonprofit conservation and record keeping organization with representatives and members in about 120 countries and territories. The association's headquarters are in the 60,000 sq ft IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach, Florida

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NJ BANQUET AND AUCTION


The International Game Fish Association’s New Jersey Representatives are pleased to announce that their 16th Annual Fund Raising Banquet and Auction will be held on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 7 pm at Doolan’s located on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey. Hosted by New Jersey representatives Pete Barrett, Bill Feinberg, Rich Keller, Jeff Merrill and Gene Nigro, proceeds from the evening will benefit the IGFA’s Junior Angler and Conservation Programs. Last year more than 150 guests attended and more than $20,000 was raised for these IGFA programs. Over the past 15 years this event has raised well more than $200,000, making it one of the IGFA’s most successful fund raising events on the annual calendar.

“Our New Jersey representatives continue to play an important role for the IGFA and its International Committee of Representatives. Their dedication and commitment to the Junior Angler Program and the IGFA’s conservation efforts is to be commended. I again look forward to attending this very popular annual event,” noted Rob Kramer, IGFA’s President.

A cocktail hour precedes a deluxe hot and cold buffet dinner followed by the popular Fishing Tackle Bonanza Auction, where thousands of dollars worth of fishing tackle including rods, reels, line and lures donated by major tackle manufacturers and local tackle shops, plus jewelry, marine artwork and other fishing related items and accessories will be given away. Numerous fishing trips have also been donated by charter boat captains. The popular Grand Raffle is again well-stocked and includes a Shimano Tyrnos 30 two-speed reel spooled with PowerPro line and matching Tallus rod, a hand carved tarpon sculpture by John Fish, a beautiful bronze Bodo Muche marlin sculpture, and a Reactor watch courtesy of Midlantic Gold Rush. A silent auction will also be held and will include fishing trips and several high-value items. Every attendee will receive commemorative gifts from the IGFA including a Guy Harvey Close to the Edge shirt and Marc Montocchio Shades of Grey: Sailfish Series print.

Reservations are limited to the first 225 people and can be made by sending a check for $75 per ticket, made out to the IGFA and sent to: IGFA Banquet, c/o Jeff Merrill, 918 Houston St., South Plainfield, New Jersey 07080. For further information, contact Jeff Merrill at 908-451-1110 or via e-mail at jeffmerrill2@verizon.net.

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