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Russell New Zealand 2017

Back in Black Tag 3

Back in Black Tag 3

Striped marlin tagged by team Absolute

  2017 Russell, New Zealand IGFA Great Marlin Race kicks off






Russell, New Zealand 2017 Race Start

MARCH 2017 --The 2017-2018 IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) season kicked off on March 15, 2017 during the Zane Grey International Billfish Tournament hosted by the Bay of Islands Swordfish Club in Russell, New Zealand. This was the very first time IGMR satellite tags were deployed in this region making New Zealand the 21st country added to the race!

There were 18 boats that crossed the starting line on the first day of the tournament, March 15, 2017, with five boats carrying six satellite tags: Absolute, Hookin Bull, Endeavour, Back in Black, and Family Jewels. Absolute, carrying two IGMR sat tags, was the first boat to call in a hook-up but owner and tag sponsor Rod Haines decided it wasn’t the “right fish” for the special tag and released it with a conventional tag, instead. The next boat to radio in was Hookin Bull who fought a beautiful striped marlin, but deemed it too small to make the 240-day trip, a “winning journey”. It wasn’t until the afternoon when Endeavour Captain and tag sponsor Jeff Douglas reported that angler Tim Armstrong was hooked up to a beautiful 90 kg (198 lb) striped marlin. After a 20-minute bout, Jeff released the marlin with the very first IGMR satellite tag deployed in New Zealand! The tag is due to report on November 10, 2017.

The morning of the third day of the tournament, Absolute deemed an estimated 90 kg(198) lb striped marlin a winning candidate for a tag and Captain Brodie Newton deployed the second satellite tag of the race on the fish for sponsor Hamish Sheard of Pacific Ford, Whangarei. A few hours later, Back in Black owner and tag sponsor Greg Haliday had a quick fight with an estimated 75 kg (165 lb) striped marlin before Captain Guy Sutherland released the fish with the third satellite tag of the race. The fish was described as being “lively and healthy” upon release.

The fourth tag of the race was deployed next afternoon, again by Absolute  Captain Brodie Newton, after sponsor Rod Haines quickly fought the estimated 130 kg (287 lb) striped marlin. The team reported that the enormous fish “swam away nicely” with the tag.

The two remaining tags generously sponsored by Trevor Woolston of Allied Publications and Barry Woolcott of Oceanmax International remained at the club and are scheduled to go out on the next available and healthy striped marlin.