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Balboa USA 2016



The first fish caught in the 2015 Master Angler Billfish Tournament

Team Hooked's winning striped marlin





Balboa, USA 2016 Race Complete

AUGUST 2017 -- Congratulations to Team Hooked on behalf of Dana Angling Club for winning the Balboa, USA 2016 IGMR!

On September 30, 2016, Hooked Captain Geoff Hersch tagged the estimated 36 kg (80 lb) striped marlin after a 17 minute bout with angler Jeff Acampora. According to the data sheet, the fish "swam away healthy" and 216 days later, the tag popped up 1,397 nautical miles (nm) away from where it was tagged to take first place in the race! After deployment, the fish traveled south for about one month to the southern tip of the Baja peninsula before eventually heading southwest into the Pacific. Once the marlin reached about three degrees from the equator, it traveled northwest until it's tag popped off. As evident by the track on the map, we estimate that this striped marlin swam a total estimated distance of 5,560 nm! The effort was definitely a joint one with generous sponsorship from Jeff Tom, David Peter, John Tully, Dan Gorman, Craig Cleaver, Peter Nannis, Chris Bailey, Greg Zucchero, Dave and Tucker Guyot. These sponsors, Hooked Captain Geoff Hersch, and members of Dana Angling Club have actively participated in the MABT IGMR since it's inception in 2014 and we congratulate them in this amazing accomplishment.

Taking second place in the race was also an MABT IGMR veteran team: Team Pacific Pioneer on behalf of Tuna Club of Avalon. On November 4, 2017, the tag, generously sponsored by the Tuna Club Foundation, was placed on an estimated 102 kg (225 lb) striped marlin by Jason Blower after angler Paul Hoofe caught the fish aboard Pacific Pioneer with Captain Kyle Dickerson. According to the data sheet, the fish swam away from the boat in "excellent condition"- and that it did. The tag stayed with the striped marlin for a remarkable 256 days and swam a point to point distance of 92 nm but a total estimated distance of 2,059 nm! The marlin initially followed a similar path as the winning fish, but then deviated. Where Hooked's marlin moved south into open ocean, Pacific Pioneer's fish turned northwest and remained relatively near the coast for the entire deployment.

Since the inaugural MABT IGMR, the marlin have followed similar movement patterns from year to year. However, while Team Hooked's fish followed the trend of marlin in past years, it did go further south than we've seen before, and Team Pacific Pioneer's marlin did not move out into the Pacific at all (unlike past years). It will be interesting to see if the fish tagged during the 2017 Master Angler Billfish Tournament will follow similar patterns. 

Please join us, in two weeks, for a fourth year of striped marlin satellite tagging at the 2017 MABT on September 15 & 16, 2017 in Balboa, California. To jointly sponsor a tag or to create your own sponsorship, please visit or email IGFA Conservation Coordinator Leah Baumwell [email protected] with any questions.