WRAA 2013 Recap

If it had to be summarized in two words, congratulations and gratitude would be the defining characteristics of the 10th Annual IGFA World Record Achievement Awards, presented by Hugh’s Culinary. With top achievers in 20 categories – spanning across anglers, captains, and manufacturers – in attendance for the festivities on April 20, 2013, it’s easy to understand the spirit of the happy and humble celebration.

“It’s just amazing to be here among all the anglers you see in the magazines,” enthused Sue Tindale, who traveled from New Zealand to IGFA Headquarters in Dania Beach, Florida, USA to receive her World Record honors. With 73 total records last year, Tindale was the Top Female Saltwater Angler, Top Female Fly Rod Angler, and the Female Angler of the Year. Meanwhile her husband, Scott Tindale, joked that there would not be enough room at their table for all the awards – he walked away with plaques for earning the Top Male Fly Rod Angler and Top Captain/Guide titles.

The category winners continued to share the spotlight with those who have helped and come before them as the evening progressed. Steve Wozniak, who was recognized as the Top Male Saltwater Angler and Top Male Angler of the Year with 21 total records, extended his gratitude to the manufacturers who make his favorite equipment and to IGFA Trustee Martin Arostegui and the Arostegui family for their fishing friendship and hospitality. Junior angler Brielle Bennett, third place Female All-Tackle Length winner (her younger sister, Samantha tied with three other women for fourth place in the same category), graciously offered her congratulations to the evening’s other stars. And Raz Reid, representing Sage’s victory in the top Fly Rod manufacturer category, thanked the anglers who made their win possible.

And among the catches that contributed to a great year of fishing were those made by Stacey Parkerson and Enrico Capozzi, who collected their respective third and second place awards in the Fly Rod Angling division. Parkerson’s tremendous 18.4 kg (40 lb 9 oz) Atlantic sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus) caught on 2 kg (4 lb) tippet in Cancun, Mexico on April 10, 2012 contributed to her category finish, as did Capozzi’s 20.75 kg (45 lb 12 oz) Atlantic sailfish caught on 1 kg (2 lb) tippet – also in Cancun – on March 2, 2012.

But the most anticipated speeches of the evening came from the two Lifetime Achievement Award winners, Dotty Ballantyne and Heather Harkavy. Harkavy’s touching tribute to her father, recounting her early record-hunting memories and the skills and sportsmanship she’s learned on her 100-record journey, had many in the audience in tears. Ballantyne shared her fond memories and well-won lessons from 10 years of fishing with her husband, Fitz Coker, and both ladies profusely thanked the captains that helped them with so many of their record accomplishments. But Ballantyne closed with a toast that rang true for everyone in the room:

“Thank you most of all to the fish – those we caught, those we ate, and those that got away!”

Check out the 2013 IGFA World Record Game Fishes book to see all of the winners in every Top Ten category, and be sure to visit our photo gallery on Facebook for more highlights from the 10th Annual World Record Achievement Awards. And mark your calendar for next year’s celebration – we’ll be honoring the 2013 top achievers on April 19, 2014 at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum.

These young ladies, including Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Heather Harkavy, third place Female All-Tackle Length winner Brielle Bennett, and Top Female Smallfry Angler Julia Grace Ketner, were among the evening's honorees.

Shimano was among the top manufacturers of the 10th Annual WRAA ceremony, garnering first and second place finishes in four different categories.

Patrick Sebile accepted awards on behalf of his longtime fishing friend, Jean-Francois Helias, as well as Penn in the Saltwater Reels category and Abu Garcia in the Freshwater Reels category.

In addition to her numerous awards, Sue Tindale also received a beautiful congratulatory bouquet from last year's Top Female Saltwater Angler, Sjon Harless.

Maximilian and Christopher Hampl, brothers hailing from Costa Rica, tied in the Male Junior category.