IGFA Great Marlin Race Update for April 2023

The IGFA Great Marlin Race, presented by Costa Sunglasses, is a research collaboration between IGFA and Stanford University and is sponsored by AFTCO,  and the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's Outdoor Fund.

The IGFA Great Marlin Race continues to expand our scientific knowledge of billfish species across the world. In 2022, the program added its 22nd and 23rd international locations with the addition of satellite tags deployed out of the Dominican Republic and Brazil. The unrivaled database of tracking information collected by the IGFA Great Marlin Race includes over 550 tags deployed on seven species of billfish with 36,447 tracked days and a total estimated tracked distance of nearly 700,000 miles, enough to circle the globe nearly 32 times.

The IGFA Great Marlin Race is continuously adding new locations and increasing the number of tags deployed which directly results in a better understanding of the behavior of billfish and how they use their habitat resulting in an improved ability to conserve and manage billfish species. Plans for 2023 will build upon the success of the program by maintaining tag deployments during successful tournament events and placing an additional focus on white marlin through a grant from The Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund.



In May 2023, the IGFA team will head to Abaco in The Bahamas for Skip Smith’s Custom Shootout with five tags to be sponsored by tournament participants. The Custom Shootout has been one of the more successful tagging locations over the history of the program and we look forward to adding more information to the database. Additionally, three white marlin satellite tags sponsored by the Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s Outdoor Fund are already in The Bahamas awaiting deployment, bringing the planned 2023 total to eight satellite tags to be deployed on blue and white marlin over the coming months.


Map of blue marlin tracks from tags sponsored at the Custom Shootout since 2014.

The focused effort on white marlin will continue in May with three tags to be deployed out of the Dominican Republic which will be the first white marlin tagged there as part of the IGFA Great Marlin Race. The goal of the white marlin tag deployments, specifically, is to learn more about the migratory corridor used by the species with tag deployments occurring throughout the range including events in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, The Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic. We also hope to tag at least three white marlin in the Gulf of Mexico in 2023 out of Alabama and Texas.


In June 2023, the IGFA tagging team will travel to North Carolina for the 65th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament for the third year in a row. In recent years, this event has produced some incredible results including the IGFA Great Marlin Race winning tag last year. We hope this year will be no different. The IGFA is excited to work with the Big Rock tournament again this year and we are hopeful to get more data from this region where little blue marlin tracking information is available.


Bermuda has been one of the most successful IGFA Great Marlin Race tagging locations. Check out the incredible tracks from some of these Bermuda tagged blue marlin.

The next stop in July 2023, will be Bermuda for the Triple Crown Billfish Championship where five tags will be available for sponsorship and deployment on blue marlin. After a three-year hiatus, the IGFA Great Marlin Race is thrilled to be heading back to Bermuda where some of the best blue marlin tracks ever recorded have been collected

In August 2023, the IGFA will travel to Beach Haven, New Jersey, where five tags will be available for sponsorship at the 54th Annual Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club White Marlin Invitational. For the third year in a row, the IGFA will be tagging white marlin in the canyons off New Jersey.

Striped marlin tagging associated with the MABT has produced amazing results, helping us learn how connected striped marlin populations may be between Southern California, Mexico, and Hawaii.

Finally, in September 2023, there are two tournaments where IGFA Great Marlin Race satellite tags will be deployed. The first is the 56th Annual Mobile Big Game Fishing Club Labor Day Invitational where we hope to tag both blue and white marlin for the second year in a row. The second tournament is the 42nd Annual Balboa Angling Club Master Angler Billfish Tournament where the IGFA team has been tagging since 2014, and collecting critical data to understand movements of striped marlin in the Pacific Ocean. Five tags will be available for deployment during the MABT and we hope to continue the trend of learning new details about the expansive range of striped marlin between Southern California, Mexico, and Hawaii.

The IGFA Great Marlin Race will also continue to deploy satellite tags on blue and striped marlin off Hawaii, Japan, Cape Verde, and New Zealand. We look forward to learning more about our local populations of billfish and hope to see some of you at one of the tournaments near you this summer. Stay tuned for more updates!

Summer/Fall Tournament IGFA Great Marlin Race Tagging Schedule

Skip Smith’s Custom Shootout - May 17-20, 2023

65th Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament - June 9-18, 2023

Bermuda Triple Crown Billfish Championship - July 3-24, 2023

54th Annual BHMTC White Marlin Invitational Tournament - Aug 16-19, 2023

56th Annual 2023 MBGFC Labor Day Invitational – Aug 31- September 5, 2023

42nd Annual Balboa Angling Club Master Angler Billfish Tournament – Sept 8 & 9, 2023