2019 Tag & Release Competition Winners

TBF 2018 Ceremony Award Winners

2018 Award Winners

Each year The Billfish Foundation recognizes the best of the best in the billfishing community to acknowledge the significant effort they contribute to our Tag & Release Program and billfish conservation. Since its inception in 1990, the program has grown to accrue over 260,000 tag and release records to become the largest private billfish tagging database in the world. In the last year alone, TBF has collected over 11,000 records! The information gathered through tag and release efforts is invaluable to increase our understanding and better our management of billfish and preserve the sport we love. This is only possible through the efforts of conservation-minded captains, anglers, and mates across the globe.

Winners will be recognized at Miami’s Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom on February 14th, 2020 at the 2019 International Tag & Release Awards Ceremony. Some of the biggest names in billfishing will be in attendance to collect awards from our headline sponsor, King Sailfish Mounts, who together with Floy Tag, Viking Service Center, and Marina Casa de Campo sponsor the event. We also want to thank our 2019 Tag & Release program sponsors: Casa Vieja Lodge, Costa Sunglasses, Garmin, Pelagic Gear, Yeti Coolers, International Gamefish Tournament Observers, and T-H Marine. Click here to get your tickets!

We are pleased to announce the following winners of the international tagging competition:

  • Top Overall Tagging Angler: Laura Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  • Top Overall Tagging Captain: Ben Horning* – Jupiter, Florida
  • Top Overall Tagging Lady Angler: Laura Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  • Top Overall Tagging Youth Angler: Hefner Appling – Port Aransas, Texas

In the release category of the international competition, we had the following winners:

  • Top Overall Release Angler: Gray Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  • Top Overall Release Captain: Chris Sheeder* – Coral Gables, Florida
  • Top Overall Release Lady Angler: Camila Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  • Top Overall Release Youth Angler: Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida

Below are the top five winners in each category of ocean, by species, and region.


Overall Winners

Top Overall Tagging Angler

  1. Laura Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  2. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Laurent Sahyoun – Mandelieu, France
  4. Katie Kosich – Newport Beach, California
  5. Scott Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida

Top Overall Tagging Captain

  1. Ben Horning* – Sarasota, Florida
  2. Nicholas Gonzalez – Coconut Grove, Florida
  3. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  4. Christian Benazeth – Auch, France
  5. Bouncer Smith – Miami Beach, Florida

Top Overall Tagging Lady Angler

  1. Laura Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  2. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Katie Kosich – Newport Beach, California
  4. Kumie Saegusa – Yokohama, Japan
  5. Luena Amaro – Luanda, Angola

Top Overall Tagging Youth Angler

  1. Hefner Appling – Port Aransas, Texas
  2. Sydney Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Brycen Oquin – Austin, Texas
  4. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  5. Emma Helwig – Owings, Maryland

Top Overall Release Angler

  1. Gray Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Camila Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Brian Walley – Blaine, Washington
  4. James Breen – Newport News, Virginia
  5. Mike Shea – Georgia

Top Overall Release Captain

  1. Chris Sheeder* – Coral Gables, Florida
  2. Jason Brice – Miami, Florida
  3. Scott Jones – Coral Springs, Florida
  4. Eddy Lawler – Exmouth, Australia
  5. Horace Barge – San Marcos, California

Top Overall Release Lady Angler

  1. Camila Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Tawnie Walley – Blaine, Washington
  4. Katie Kosich – Newport Beach, California
  5. Kerrie Smith – Exmouth, Australia

Top Overall Release Youth Angler

  1. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  2. Wil Cunningham – Traralgon, Australia
  3. Sydney Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  4. Jake Morris – Wake Forest, North Carolina
  5. Preston Jinks – Houston, Texas

Top Anglers

Tag

Top Tagging Angler – Atlantic

Blue Marlin

  1. Jill Yates* – Riviera Beach, Florida
  2. Scott Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Sean van Veijeren – Mphumalanga, South Africa
  4. Rafael Gomes Ferreira – Rio de Janeiro
  5. Neil McLellan – Ocean Ridge, Florida

Sailfish

  1. Jill Yates* – Riviera Beach, Florida
  2. Scott Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Jacob Lepera – Boynton Beach, Florida
  4. Kevin Jongschaap – Luanda, Angola
  5. Luena Amaro – Luanda, Angola

Swordfish

  1. Samuel Urbain – Sainte-Maxime, France
  2. Matthew Fahmie – Vero Beach, Florida
  3. Chase Fulton – Fort Myers, Florida
  4. Tom Arnot – Islamorada, Florida

White Marlin

  1. Laurent Sahyoun – Mandelieu, France
  2. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Scott Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  4. Darren Helwig – Chesapeake Bay, Maryland
  5. George Robinson – North Palm Beach, Florida

Top Tagging Angler – Pacific

Black Marlin

  1. Herve Picarda – Port Vila, Vanuatu
  2. Ken Corday – Bangalow, Australia
  3. Jason Jacobs – Austin, Texas

Blue Marlin

  1. Jose Anton* – Miami, Florida
  2. Gray Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Paul Dolinoy – Huntington Beach, California
  4. Kumie Saegusa – Yokohama, Japan
  5. Norman Pichardo – Guayaquil, Ecuador

Sailfish

  1. Laura Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  2. John Henry David – Neptune Beach, Florida
  3. Chris Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  4. Ichiro Takahashi – Tokyo, Japan
  5. Hefner Appling – Port Aransas, Texas

Spearfish

  1. Paul Dolinoy – Huntington Beach, California

Striped Marlin

  1. Laura Jessen – Sarasota, Florida
  2. Katie Kosich – Newport Beach, California
  3. Gregory Lewis – Whitesburg, Georgia
  4. Chris Jessen – Sarasota, Florida (tied for fourth)
  5. Harry Mason – Summerland Key, Florida (tied for fourth)

Top Tagging Angler – Indian

Black Marlin

  1. Malan Horak – Eden Island, Seychelles

Blue Marlin

  1. Batian Craig* – Nairobi, Kenya
  2. Mike Mason – Victoria, Seychelles
  3. Malan Horak – Victoria, Seychelles
  4. Aaron-Lyle Manes – Victoria, Seychelles

Sailfish

  1. Kelly Farrell – Alyangula, Australia
  2. Mike Mason – Victoria, Seychelles
  3. Bomber Farrell – Alyangula, Australia
  4. Batian Craig – Nairobi, Kenya
  5. Malan Horak – Victoria, Seychelles

Release

Top Release Angler – Atlantic

Blue Marlin

  1. Mike Brauser* – Lighthouse Point, Florida
  2. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Chris Chapman – Great Britain
  4. Mark Smith – Sutton Coldfield, Great Britain
  5. Marc Giraux – Paris, France

Sailfish

  1. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  2. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  3. Jacob Lepera – Boynton Beach, Florida
  4. Scott Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida
  5. Billy Carson – North Miami, Florida

Swordfish

  1. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  2. Sydney Pagano – Jupiter, Florida

White Marlin

  1. Laurent Sahyoun – Mandelieu, France
  2. Angel Muntaner Gonzalez – Luquillo, Puerto Rico
  3. El Ouafi Ibrahim – Casablanca, Morocco
  4. Davide Marconi – Pogliano Milanese, Italy
  5. Jill Yates – Riviera Beach, Florida

Top Release Angler – Pacific

Black Marlin

  1. Barry Alty – Gold Coast, Australia
  2. Ethan Hoggard – Gold Coast, Australia
  3. Luke Vesco
  4. Mark Davis – Malibu, California

Blue Marlin

  1. Gray Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Ken Chaplin – Derwood, Maryland
  3. Donald Byroads – La Plata, Maryland
  4. Martha Macnab – Balboa Island, California
  5. Brennan Welch – Odessa, Texas

Sailfish

  1. Gray Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Mike Shea – Georgia
  3. Greg Fierle
  4. Brett Combs – Dallas, Texas
  5. Al Jacobs

Striped Marlin

  1. Gray Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Camila Ingram – Jupiter, Florida
  3. James Breen – Newport News, Virginia
  4. Brian Walley – Blaine, Washington
  5. Tawnie Walley – Blaine, Washington

Top Release Angler – Indian

Black Marlin

  1. Vasili Kuzminsky* – Essendon, Australia
  2. Wil Cunningham – Traralgon, Australia
  3. Arthur Cunningham – Traralgon, Australia
  4. Nick Vanner – Ocean Grove, Australia (tied for fourth)
  5. Kerrie Smith – Exmouth, Australia (tied for fourth)

Blue Marlin

  1. James Gill* – Bentleigh East, Australia
  2. Vasili Kuzminsky – Essendon, Australia
  3. Andrew Jones – Pembrokeshire, Wales

Sailfish

  1. Rowan Smith* – Exmouth, Australia (tied for first)
  2. Kerrie Smith* – Exmouth, Australia (tied for first)
  3. Deb Foster – Exmouth, Australia
  4. Vasili Kuzminsky – Essendon, Australia
  5. Dillon Paul – Wallar, Australia

Top Captains

Tag

Top Tagging Captain – Atlantic

Blue Marlin

  1. Stuart Simpson – Durban, South Africa
  2. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Igor Assad – Niteroi, Brazil
  4. Stephane Millez – Mandelieu, France
  5. Anton Viljoen – Ocean Ridge, Florida

Sailfish

  1. Nicholas Gonzalez – Coconut Grove, Florida
  2. Bouncer Smith – Miami Beach, Florida
  3. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  4. Doug Covin – Jupiter, Florida (tied for fourth)
  5. Fernando Duarte – Luanda, Angola (tied for fourth)

Swordfish

  1. Nick Stanczyk – Islamorada, Florida
  2. Henry Dombroski – Boynton Beach, Florida
  3. Rudy Urbain – Sainte-Maxime, France
  4. Travis Whitfield – Vero Beach, Florida
  5. Adam Peeples – Fort Walton Beach, Florida

White Marlin

  1. Christian Benazeth – Auch, France
  2. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Jon Meade – Ashburn, Virginia
  4. Bill Davis – Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
  5. Tim Day – Leland, North Carolina

Top Tagging Captain – Pacific

Black Marlin

  1. Craig Denham* – Runaway Bay, Australia
  2. Tim Richardson – Bangalow, Australia
  3. Tom Francis – Auckland, New Zealand
  4. Jason Hedges – Kingscliff, Australia

Blue Marlin

  1. Skip Smith* – Lighthouse Point, Florida
  2. Ken Ross – North Palm Beach, Florida
  3. Chris Choy – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  4. Gene Vander Hoek – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  5. Yoshihiro Suzuki – Yokohama, Japan

Sailfish

  1. Ben Horning* – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Sean Swetman – Rockport, Texas
  3. Fong Pong – Koala Rompin Pahang, Malaysia
  4. Skip Smith – Lighthouse Point, Florida
  5. Julio Cota – Norridge, Illinois

Spearfish

  1. Gene Vander Hoek – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  2. Chris Choy – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

Striped Marlin

  1. Ben Horning* – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Jaime Gonzalez – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  3. Randy Parker – Holualoa, Hawaii
  4. Julio Cota – Norridge, Illinois
  5. Javier Alarcon – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Top Tagging Captain – Indian

Black Marlin

  1. Ross Newton – Broome, Australia
  2. Darryn du Plessis – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  3. Perry Rosalie – Victoria, Seychelles
  4. Randy Bradley – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Blue Marlin

  1. Perry Rosalie* – Victoria, Seychelles
  2. Adam Ogden – Kenya
  3. Randy Bradley – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  4. Darryn du Plessis – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  5. Ross Newton – Broome, Australia

Sailfish

  1. Bomber Farrell* – Alyangula, Australia
  2. Perry Rosalie – Victoria, Seychelles
  3. Rolly Pierre – Denis Island, Seychelles
  4. Darryn du Plessis – Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  5. Adam Dunstan – Alyangula, Australia

Swordfish

  1. Calvin du Plessis – Malindi, Kenya

Release

Top Release Captain – Atlantic

Blue Marlin

  1. Zak Conde* – San Vicente, Cape Verde
  2. Bertrand Bouchard – Port Gentil, Gabon
  3. Tim Popfinger – Pompano Beach, Florida
  4. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  5. Brent Gaskill – Harkers Island, North Carolina

Sailfish

  1. Dean Panos – Pembroke Pines, Florida
  2. Travis Ralph – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  4. Jonny McIntyre – Jupiter, Florida
  5. Doug Covin – Jupiter, Florida

Swordfish

  1. Henry Dombroski* – Boynton Beach, Florida
  2. Jonny McIntyre – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida (tied for third)
  4. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida (tied for third)

White Marlin

  1. Christian Benazeth – Auch, France
  2. Mark Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Michael Hunter – Florida
  4. Stuart Simpson – Durban, South Africa
  5. Tim Popfinger – Pompano Beach, Florida

Top Release Captain – Pacific

Black Marlin

  1. Brett Alty – Gold Coast, Australia
  2. Craig Denham – Runaway Bay, Australia
  3. Tim Dean – Salamander Bay, Australia

Blue Marlin

  1. Chris Sheeder* – Coral Gables, Florida
  2. Tom Lynsky – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  3. Jason Brice – Miami, Florida
  4. Edgar Montero – Doral, Florida (tied for fourth)
  5. Scott Jones – Coral Springs, Florida (tied for fourth)

Sailfish

  1. Jason Brice – Miami, Florida
  2. Chris Sheeder – Coral Gables, Florida
  3. Will Ochse – Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  4. Chris Bays – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  5. Ernesto Vazquez – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Striped Marlin

  1. Scott Jones* – Coral Springs, Florida
  2. Horace Barge – San Marcos, California
  3. Ben Horning – Jupiter, Florida
  4. Chris Bays – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  5. Randy Parker – Holualoa, Hawaii

Top Release Captain – Indian

Black Marlin

  1. Eddy Lawler* – Exmouth, Australia
  2. Matthew Worrall – Coral Bay, Australia

Blue Marlin

  1. Eddy Lawler* – Exmouth, Australia
  2. Calvin du Plessis – Malindi, Kenya

Sailfish

  1. Eddy Lawler* – Exmouth, Australia
  2. Calvin du Plessis – Malindi, Kenya
  3. Jo-Ann Riley – Baynton, Australia
  4. Neville Kent – Exmouth, Australia

Striped Marlin

  1. Eddy Lawler* – Exmouth, Australia

Top Youth Anglers

Tag

11 – 12

  1. Brycen Oquin – Austin, Texas

13 – 15

  1. Hefner Appling – Port Aransas, Texas
  2. Sydney Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  3. Emma Helwig – Owings, Maryland (tied for third)
  4. Boyer Tooley – Pacific Palisades, California (tied for third)

16 – 17

  1. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida (tied for first)
  2. Decker Patterson – North Palm Beach, Florida (tied for first)

Release

13 – 15

  1. Sydney Pagano – Jupiter, Florida
  2. Preston Jinks – Houston, Texas

16 – 17

  1. Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  2. Wil Cunningham – Traralgon, Australia
  3. Jake Morris – Wake Forest, North Carolina
  4. Barrett Jinks – Houston, Texas

Regional Competitions

Gulf of Mexico Marlin Tagging Competition

  • Top Overall Tagging Angler: Cristy Delgado* – Port Isabel, Texas
  • Top Overall Tagging Captain: Terrell Miller – San Antonio, Texas
  • Top Overall Tagging Captain, Blue Marlin: Terrell Miller – San Antonio, Texas
  • Top Overall Tagging Angler, White Marlin: Cristy Delgado* – Port Isabel, Texas
  • Top Overall Tagging Captain, White Marlin: Terrell Miller – San Antonio, Texas
  • Top Tagging Lady Angler: Cristy Delgado* – Port Isabel, Texas

South Florida Sailfish Circuit

  • Top Release Angler: Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  • Top Release Captain, Private: Travis Ralph – Jupiter, Florida
  • Top Release Captain, Charter: Dean Panos – Pembroke Pines, Florida
  • Top Release Junior Angler: Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  • Top Release Lady Angler: Jill Yates* – Riviera Beach, Florida
  • Top Tagging Angler: Jill Yates* – Riviera Beach, Florida
  • Top Tagging Captain, Private: Doug Covin* – Jupiter, Florida
  • Top Tagging Captain, Charter: Nicholas Gonzalez – Coconut Grove, Florida
  • Top Tagging Junior Angler: Luke Lulfs – Boynton Beach, Florida
  • Top Tagging Lady Angler: Jill Yates* – Riviera Beach, Florida

Cape Verde Regional Competition

  • Top Tagging Angler: Sean Van Veijeren – South Africa
  • Top Tagging Captain: Stuart Simpson – South Africa
  • Top Release Angler: Chris Chapman* – Great Britain
  • Top Release Captain: Zak Conde* – Cape Verde

Hawaii Regional Competition

  • Top Tagging Angler: Paul Dolinoy – Huntington Beach, California
  • Top Tagging Captain: Chris Choy – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
  • Top Tagging Youth Angler: Brycen Oquin – Austin, Texas
  • Top Release Captain: Chris Choy – Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

*please note that your membership must be current as of February 14, 2020 to receive your award