FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. USA – Every time they fish on three oceans, these anglers are helping scientific research. Globally since 1990 they — anglers, captains and mates — have become the heart-and-soul of The Billfish Foundation’s (TBF) eminent conservation program committed to billfish tag and release, supplying valuable data critical to learning migratory habits and more.

The winners of TBF’s 21th year-long competition were presented their 2010 International Tag & Release Awards at Miami’s Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom. Awards sponsors included  American Custom Yachts, Costa, Dockwise, King Sailfish and Rybovich   Besides celebrating the award winners, the event was also the Kick-Off Party for TBF’s Silver Anniversary.

TBF’s Overall Tagging Winners for all species (blue marlin, black marlin, striped marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish) included Gray Ingram, Jupiter, Fla., USA, Overall Male Angler; Betsy Crudele, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA – Overall Lady Angler, and Chris Sheeder, of Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, the Overall Captain.

Ingram, received double honors winning the TBF’s T&R Release category of the competition as the Overall Male Angler for all species. Carol Speicher of Leola, Pa., USA, was the Overall Lady Angler and Brad Philipps, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, the Overall Captain.

To make it a family affair Gray Ingram’s grandson Bo Ingram, Greensboro, N.C. USA, was the Overall Award Youth Tag winner.  Robbie Angus of Kerikeri, New Zealand was named the Overall Award Youth Release winner.

Each year TBF members from more than 70 countries are invited to participate. The latest annual competition ran from Nov. 1, 2009 to Oct. 31, 2010 with “tagging data reports” and “release notification cards” generated from the temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, where a majority of the world’s billfish inhabit. To be eligible to receive an award active TBF members must have tagged and/or released five or more of a species to qualify.

In addition, TBF’s Youth Program created in 2001, recognizes the conservation ethics and achievements of young anglers.  It includes a three fish minimum in three age groupings for both tag and release categories.

Peter Chaibongsai, TBF’s Director of Science and Policy, said the economy, plus the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster last spring and summer had a major affect in reduced T&R numbers.

“Closures to areas in the Gulf because of oil also affected major billfishing tournaments,” he added. “Our reports of releases were probably the lowest numbers we’ve had in sometime.”

“And it wasn’t just the Gulf.  While we had about a 30% increase of sailfish release reports, we also had a sharp decrease — about 80%, in the number of striped marlin compared to last year — due to the lack of a striped marlin bite in the Los Cabos area.

“The release numbers were so significant in the striped category, which would typically account for about 50% or more, this year it was only a fraction of that. We had more releases of stripes last year than the total of releases of all billfish this year,” said Chaibongsai.

“We deployed about 3100 tags and about 2000 release records during our competition period, a 25% decrease on tag efforts and 66% decrease off release efforts. After the Oct. 31st deadline we received a large number of late returns. Together they accounted for 4500 tag and 3500 release reports from the competition period.”

For more on TBF’s annual Tag & Release program please call 954-938-0150 for Peter Chaibongsai (ext. 107) or Elliott Stark (ext. 101) or Deborah Cummings (ext. 106)


The Billfish Foundation

 Tag & Release Award Winners of 2010

(presented Feb. 19,2011, Miami, Fla.)

Tag Category


Top Tagging Anglers Atlantic

Sam Jennings                        Juno Beach, Fla., USA             Blue Marlin

Betsy Crudele                         Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA       Sailfish

Victoria Roberts                      Stevensville, Md. USA              White Marlin

Top Tagging Captains Atlantic

Mike Lemon                            Miami, Fla., USA                    Blue Marlin

Ray Peterson                          Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA     Sailfish

Jimmie Roberts                      Stevensville, Md., USA           Spearfish

Sean O’Connor                       Key Largo, Fla., USA             Swordfish

Jimmie Roberts                      Stevensville, Md, USA            White Marlin

Top Tag Anglers Pacific

John Richardson                     Bellville, Texas, USA              Black Marlin

Kanako Terai                         Hiroshima, Japan                    Blue Marlin

Steve Fanscy                          Harrow, Ontario, Canada       Sailfish

Suzanne Gustavson               Kailua Kona, Hawaii, USA      Spearfish

Dennis Poulton                        Bakersfield, Ca., USA            Striped Marlin

Top Tag Captains Pacific

Gavilan Cordoba                     Piñas, Panama                      Black Marlin

Kevin Nakamura                     Kailua Kona, Hawaii, USA       Blue Marlin

Chris Sheeder                         Pto. Quetzal, Guatemala       Sailfish

Gene VanderHoek                  Kailua Kona, Hawaii, USA        Spearfish

Brett Walker                            Lake Forest, Ca., USA         Striped Marlin

Top Tag Anglers Indian

Mike Russon                          Capetown, South Africa         Black Marlin

Henry Riggs-Miller                  Miami, Fla., USA                     Sailfish

Top Tag Captains Indian

Bernard Vale                           Coral Bay, Australia               Black Marlin

John Pearce                           Phuket, Thailand                     Blue Marlin

Ross Newton                          Broome, Australia                  Sailfish

Simon Hemphill                      Ukunda, Kenya                       Striped Marlin

Overall Tagging Winners for all species

Gray Ingram                           Jupiter, Fla., USA                   Overall Angler

Chris Sheeder                         Pto. Quetzal, Guatemala        Overall Captain

Betsy Crudele                         Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA     Overall Lady Angler


Youth Anglers Tagging

Bo Ingram                               Greensboro, N.C., USA          9-10 Winner

Tyler Sudbrink                         Greensboro, N.C., USA          13-15 Winner

Jacquie RushfordBroome, Australia                    Runner-Up

Ricardo Sola                           Guayaquil, Ecuador                16-17 Winner

Clay Meister                            Palm Bch Gardens, Fla., USA    Runner-Up

Overall Award Youth Tag    – Bo Ingram

Release Category

Top Release Anglers Atlantic

Gray Ingram                           Jupiter, Fla., USA                     Blue Marlin

Carole Speicher                         Leole, Pa., USA                      White Marlin

Top Release Captains Atlantic

Martin Bates                            New Zealand                        Blue Marlin

Bertrand Bouchard                 Port Gentil, Gabon                  Sailfish

Barry Daniels                          Oregon Inlet, N.C., USA         White Marlin

Top Release Anglers Pacific

Robbie Angus                         Kerikeri, New Zealand            Black Marlin

Gary Carter                             Duluth, Ga., USA                    Blue Marlin

Jim Turner                              Miami, Fla., USA                    Sailfish

Gray Ingram                           Jupiter, Fla., USA                   Striped Marlin

Top Release Captains Pacific

Wade Richardson                   Bellville, Texas, USA              Black Marlin

Yoan Alcala                             Venezuela                               Blue Marlin

Brad Philipps                           Pto. Quetzal, Guatemala        Sailfish

Julio Castro                             Cabo San Lucas, Mexico       Striped Marlin

John Gregory                          Kerikeri, New Zealand            Swordfish

Top Release Captains Indian

Perry Rosalie                          Seychelles                            Sailfish

 Overall Release Winners for all species

Gray Ingram                           Jupiter, Fla., USA                   Overall Angler

Brad Philipps                           Pto. Quetzal, Guatemala        Overall Captain

Carol Speicher                        Leola, Pa., USA                      Overall Lady Angler

Youth Anglers Release

Robbie Angus                         Kerikeri, New Zealand            16-17   Winner

Overall Award Youth Release – Robbie Angus