TBF’S Most Prestigious Award Winners 2022
THE JOHN RYBOVICH LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
The award is named in honor of a former board member and pioneer in billfish conservation, who founded the Sailfish Conservation Club, the Masters Angling Tournament, the Tournament of Champions, and the Gold Cup to raise funds for conservation. With his brothers, Emil and Tommy, the family business developed the first offshore sportfishing boat equipped with a tower, outriggers, fighting chair, transom door, and big engines.
This year’s recipient:
Charles Perry, known worldwide as a renowned blue water angler, captain with a 100-ton license, but is best known as the “greatest heavy-tackle wireman ever” having fished for over 60 years on major sportfishing boats around the world. He grew up on his father’s sportfishing boat where a wooden fish box served as his crib. At age 6 he began helping his father while fishing out of Oregon Inlet, NC, and moved offshore at age 13 with Captains Murray Cudworth and Tony Tillet.
The U.S. Army provided Perry’s transition from North Carolina charter fishing to international big-game fishing when drafted and sent to Vietnam. After two years, in 1972 he visited a friend in Australia, met Captain Peter B. Wright and by 1974 he was Peter’s wireman. From there, Perry’s career included wiring and setting world records with the biggest gamefish, the largest being a 1,417-pound black marlin. His experiences read like an international travel log, from Australia, Central and South America, Ivory Coast, Cape Verde, Canaries, and back to North Carolina, his favorite fishing place. He once reported that his favorite fishing memory was catching a blue marlin in excess of 500-pounds with his Mom.
Perry added research to his experiences when assisting in the deployment of satellite tags on giant bluefin tuna off North Carolina, releasing 347 in 16 days, and also on blue marlin in the Indian Ocean. He served as an instructor for Marlin University, advisor to fishing teams, advised Sebastian Junger on rough weather conditions off the Grand Banks for Perfect Storm, received great photo placements, writes articles in sportfishing magazines and designed, what he calls the ultimate wiring glove, Fish Monkey.
The Winthrop P. Rockefeller Lifetime Achievement Award
The award is named in honor of TBF’s Founder, a well-known angler, philanthropist, and owner, at the time, of Allied Marine in Miami. Rockefeller sought scientific advice to identify the most pressing billfish research needs. He was told stock assessments presented the greatest need, which dictated TBF’s first research commitment, followed by many other research areas, though stock assessment science remains a priority. He also was committed to introducing children to fishing.
This year’s recipient:
Raymond Douglas known as Doug to most, founder and owner of King Sailfish Mounts (KSM), revolutionized the marine fish taxidermy industry into a conservation platform. Doug loves to fish and saw no need to kill to have a beautiful mount. Dead fish are not needed at KSM to produce a gorgeous, hand-painted mount that captures an outstanding fish and release. Length and girth measurements, without hurting the fish, plus a few photos, allow Doug and his artists to perfectly match, with hand-painted details, the fish’s coloration and size upon release, which he calls “authentication.” KSM’s release mounts preserve fishing memories, which are recalled and shared over and over again in homes and businesses around the world. He additionally supports marine conservation by having been a co-sponsor of The Billfish Foundation’s annual Tag and Release Program for decades making all the trophies for each of TBF’s International Award Categories for each billfish species and oceans.
Doug’s favorite fish to replicate and one of his favorite to catch is a tarpon, especially if he is camping and fishing in the backcountry of the Everglades using a fly or lure on light line. He noted that alligators and birds “add to his experiences.” One story he shared recalled him feeding alligators from his sleeping platform at night, only to find the next morning his boat came untied and drifted to where his alligator food landed the night before. Yes, he got in the water and waded to retrieve his boat!!! For some that would have exceeded the desired “addition to the experience” in a trip! After almost 27 years of being in business, Doug is now looking to sell KSM, hoping to enjoy some much-needed fishing time to himself.