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Abaco Islands Bahamas 2014


The second tag of the 2014 Abaco Islands 2014 IGMR

The second tag deployed in a blue marlin during the  2014 Abaco Islands, IGMR 

Sponsor Roy W. Cronacher Jr. fighting Fish 2 of the Abaco Islands 2014 IGMR

Sponsor Roy W. Cronacher Jr. fighting Fish 2 of the 2014 Abaco Islands IGMR

Abaco Islands, Bahamas 2014 Race Complete

FEBRUARY 2015 -- Last week, on February 16, 2015, the final tag in the 2014 Custom Shootout IGMR that started in Abaco Islands, Bahamas, surfaced to win the race after remaining on Fish 6, an estimated 126 kg (275 lb) blue marlin, for the full programmed duration of 180 days! The tag reported in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, at an incredible point to point distance of 2,469 nautical miles (nm) southeast from where it was deployed about 60 miles off the coast of Virginia, USA. Congratulations to the Jim Jensen of Plane Simple, the angler and sponsor of the winning fish! It will be about another month before a track is developed, and we can’t wait to see where this fish actually swam.

Coming in a close second place was Fish 1, the only fish tagged during the 2014 Custom Shootout by sponsor Mike Bozzuto of My Love. The tag on Fish 1 popped up on November 11, 2014 and revealed that the estimated 125 kg (275 lb) blue traveled an exact point to point distance of 2,029 nm in the full programmed duration of 180 days! Starting off in the Abacos, the blue swam north from the Bahamas, hugging the US coast all the way to Massachusetts, where it circled back down to Maryland and Virginia before returning north and then eventually swimming far east offshore in the Atlantic. Given the track pattern, we estimate that the blue marlin’s total distance was more likely around 6,414 nm!

Jim Derrick of Layla sponsored the tag that his Captain Todd Astles placed on Fish 4 after angler Tobin Wiener reeled in the estimated 91 kg (200 lb) blue while fishing near Puerto Rico. After reaching the 180 day programmed duration period on January 29, 2015, the tag popped off 1,309 nm away in the Atlantic, about 1,000 nm from South America, earning Fish 4 third place in the race. As with fish 6, the track will be processed when the tag is finished transferring data to the Argos satellites which will likely be completed within the month.

Fourth place in the race goes to Fish 2, an estimated 113 kg (250 lb) blue marlin that was caught and tagged by sponsor and IGFA Trustee Roy W. Cronacher Jr. from his boat Gladiator, while fishing in the Bahamas two weeks after the 2014 Custom Shootout had concluded. Most Interestingly, Fish 2 followed a similar route as Fish 1, the only other fish in the race that was tagged in the Bahamas two weeks prior. The fish swam from the Abacos north about 300 nm along the US coast, but instead of continuing east offshore like Fish 1, the blue swam directly south, passing Cuba, to South America before the tag popped off in the Caribbean Sea on December 3, 2015. Although the marlin only swam a point to point distance of 585 nm in 180 days, it actually swam a much farther total distance that we estimate to be around 4,321 nm!

Earning fifth place in the race was Fish 5, an estimated 57 kg (125 lb) blue marlin whose tag was sponsored by IGFA Trustee Sean Healey while fishing from his boat Orion off the coast of Costa Rica.  After 117 days, the tag popped up in the Pacific Ocean, 496 nm southwest from where it was tagged, just northeast of the Galapagos Islands. However and most unfortunately, there was almost no data reported from the tag despite it being at large for 117 days. In reviewing the small amount of data, there was one pressure reading that was below 1,850 meters which indicates that the tag sank below the pressure rating of the tag’s pressure sensor and therefore, may have gone deeper than the depth range of the tag itself. Therefore, we must conclude that this is likely a mortality and at some point after the tag was deployed (possibly in early November, although it could have been earlier than that), it sank to the ocean floor and was damaged which resulted in corruption of the data and/or preventing the tag from effectively transmitting the dataset.

Coming in sixth place was Fish 3, a 34 kg (75 lb) blue that was tagged in Bermuda on September 5, 2014. The tag that was most generously sponsored by Dan Doyle Jr. of Blank Check was due to surface on January 1, 2015 and most disappointingly, it failed to report. While we have a very high reporting rate for the tags that have been deployed in the IGMR, there are reasons why tags may not report. Biofouling, particularly around the antenna can be problematic. Tags must be buoyant and the antenna above the water's surface to transmit the data, and fouling can sometimes prevent this. Even though we go to great lengths to paint each tag with antifouling paint, they sometimes can become fouled during long deployments.

The fact that four of the six tags deployed during the 2014 Abaco Islands, Bahamas IGMR reached the full programmed duration of 180 days is a huge success in itself. However, that coupled with some very long tracks made this particular race a veritable treasure trove of data for the IGMR. A huge thanks go to Captain Skip Smith for making this event possible at the Custom Shootout and to all the tag sponsors, anglers, and crew that participated. A comprehensive report with more details regarding your tags and fish will be available on the race page soon.

Abaco Islands, Bahamas 2014 Race Start

SEPTEMBER 2014 -- A total of nine tags were sponsored during the 2014 Custom Shootout on May 13-17, 2014. The “invitation only” tournament is exclusive to custom built vessels and is also a nonprofit corporation that has contributed over $700,000 to various charities since its inception in 2002.

The first tag of the race was deployed during the third day of the tournament on May 15, 2014 by sponsor Mike Bozzuto after angler Ron McCall Jr. reeled in the 125 kg (275 lb) blue marlin aboard My Love. Mike’s tag is due to surface on November 11, 2014. Due to inclement weather, this was the only tag deployed during the event and five tags went out on blue marlin in the weeks following the tournament.

Two weeks following the shootout on May 6, 2014, IGFA Trustee and tag sponsor Roy W. Cronacher Jr. continued to fish in the Bahamas where he deployed the second tag from his boat Gladiator on a 113 kg (250 lb) blue marlin. Roy’s tag is due up on December 3, 2014. One month later on July 5, 2014, Clemente Travieso placed the third tag in the race on a 34 kg (75 lb) blue in Bermuda after a quick fight with angler Kevin Gaylord aboard Blank Check. This tag was charitably sponsored by Dan Doyle Jr. and is due to surface on January 1, 2015.

On August 2, 2014, Layla Captain Todd Astles placed the fourth tag of the race on a 91 kg (200 lb) blue marlin after a 40 minute fight with angler Tobin Wiener while fishing in Puerto Rico. The tag was generously sponsored by Jim Derrick and is due to surface on January 29, 2015. One week later on August 10 , 2014 IGFA Trustee and tag sponsor Sean Healey caught a 57 kg (125) blue while fishing from his boat Orion in the Pacific, off Costa Rica. Sean’s tag is due up on February 6, 2015. Ten days later, on August 20, 2014, the sixth and final tag in the race was deployed by Plane Simple crew Ryan Beal & Noah Beaman on a 45 kg (100 lb) blue caught about 60 miles off Virginia Beach, USA. The fish was reeled in by tag sponsor Jim Jensen after a 20 minute fight. Jim’s tag is due to surface on February 16, 2015.

The three tags that were not deployed were generously sponsored by Randy Ringhaver, Bill Haugland, and Todd Reaves, and are scheduled to go out during the 2015 IGMR race. Thanks to all sponsors, captains, anglers, and crew of the 2014 Custom Shootout.