• Published:February 2, 2018
  • Share This Article:

Each year The Billfish Foundation recognizes the most active captains and anglers who contribute to its Tag & Release Program.

Since its inception in 1990, the Tag & Release program has grown to accrue nearly 240,000 tag-and-release records to become the largest private billfish tagging database in the world. In the last year alone, TBF collected nearly 15,000 records! The information gathered through tag-and-release efforts has been invaluable to help better manage billfish stocks, better understand these fish, and preserve the sport we love. This has only been possible through the efforts of conservation-minded captains and anglers across the globe.
Winners will be recognized at Miami’s Jungle Island Treetop Ballroom on February 16th, 2018 at the 2017 International Tag & Release Awards Ceremony. Some of the biggest names in billfishing will be in attendance to collect awards from the event's headline sponsor, King Sailfish Mounts, who together with Costa Sunglasses, Makaira Adventures, Sailfish Brewery, Floy Tag, and Casa de Campo sponsor the event. TBF also wants to thank our Tag & Release program sponsors: FishTrack, Pelagic Gear, 20Echo, Casa Vieja Lodge, Garmin Inc., YETI Coolers, and the International Game Fish Tournament Observers Inc. Click HERE to get your tickets!




This year’s competition was tight, with hundreds of records arriving at the TBF office just before the deadline. Congratulations to the following winners of the international tagging competition:


  • Top Overall Tagging Angler: Ichiro Takahashi – Tokyo, Japan

  • Top Overall Tagging Captain: Chris Sheeder – Miami, FL

  • Top Overall Tagging Lady Angler: Laura Jessen – Sarasota, FL

  • Top Overall Tagging Youth Angler: Charles Gaddy – North Carolina and Ian Perez – Florida (tied)


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


  • Top Overall Release Angler: Jeffrey Cohen – Golden Beach, FL

  • Top Overall Release Captain: Jason Brice – Miami, FL

  • Top Overall Release Lady Angler: Sandra MacMillan – Ft. Lauderdale, FL

  • Top Overall Release Youth Angler: Ian Perez – Florida


Several new names appeared in this year’s winner’s list, including:


  • Samuel Urbain, winner of Top tagging angler for Swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean

  • Matthew Boyle, winner of Top Tagging Angler for Black Marlin in the Pacific Ocean

  • Brandon Poole, winner of Top Tagging Angler for Sailfish in the Indian Ocean

  • Ibrahim Elouafi, winner of Top Release Angler for White Marlin in the Atlantic Ocean.

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

Overall
Top Overall Tagging Angler:
1. Ichiro Takahashi, Japan
2. Laurent Sahyoun, France
3. Brandon Poole, Seychelles
4. Chris Jessen, US (FL)
5. Laura Jessen, US (FL)

Top Overall Tagging Captain:
1. Chris Sheeder, US (FL)
2. Darryn Du Plessis, United Arab Emirates
3. Ben Horning, US (FL)
4. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)
5. Tim Richardson, Australia (NSW)

Top Overall Tagging Lady Angler:
1. Laura Jessen, US (FL)
2. Connie O’Day, US (TX)
3. Kumie Saegusa, Japan
4. Martha MacNab, US (CA)
5. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)

Top Overall Tagging Youth Angler:
1. Tie between: Charles Gaddy, US (NC) and Ian Perez
2. Kaleb Richardson, US (LA)
3. Aidan Burke, US (CA)
4. Hefner Appling, US (TX)
 
Top Overall Release Angler:
1. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)
2. Tiffany Day, US (NC)
3. Mike Brauser, US (FL)
4. Scott Kozak, US (OH)
5. Gray Ingram, US (FL)

Top Overall Release Captain:
1. Jason Brice, US (FL)
2. Brad Philipps, Guatemala
3. Ronnie Fields, US (FL)
4. John Dudas, US (FL)
5. Dean Panos, US (FL)

Top Overall Release Lady Angler:
1. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)
2. Tiffany Day, US (NC)
3. Laura Jessen, US (FL)
4. Sharon Poulter, Australia (QLD)
5. Samantha Johns Mumford, US (CO)

Top Overall Release Youth Angler:
1. Ian Perez, US (FL)
2. Brown Gaddy, US (NC)
3. Darren Philipps, Guatemala
4. Charles Gaddy, US (NC)
5. Marc Monti, US (RI)
 
Anglers
Top Atlantic Blue Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Farel Onanga, Gabon
2. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)
3. Bruno Tuband, Gabon
4. Charles Cooke, US (TN)
5. Andrew Taylor, UK

Top Atlantic Sailfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Jacob Lepera, US (FL)
2. Marco Couto, Angola
3. Hugo Van Dunem, Angola
4. Nicolas Pariset, France
5. Leonidas Viegas, Angola

Top Atlantic Swordfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Samuel Urbain, France
2. Christina Wills, US (TX)
3. Garrett Green, US (PA)

Top Atlantic White Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Laurent Sahyoun, France
2. Ian Perez, US (FL)
3. Peter Cherasia, US (NJ)
4. Nick Rauco, US (NJ)
 
Top Pacific Black Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Matthew Boyle, Australia (VIC)
2. Sean Van Veijeren, South Africa
3. Anthony DelGreco, US (FL)
4. Bill Boyle, Australia (VIC)
5. David Richardson, Australia (NSW)

Top Pacific Blue Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Denise Wishney, US (CA)
2. Chris Jessen, US (FL)
3. Bob Ballenger, US (CA)
4. Kumie Saegusa, Japan
5. Jeff Citron, US (FL)

Top Pacific Sailfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Ichiro Takahashi, Japan
2. Connie O’Day, US (TX)
3. Chris Jessen, US (FL)
4. Laura Jessen, US (FL)
5. Charles Gaddy, US (NC)

Top Pacific Spearfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Candace Stewart, US (CO)
2. Mark Davis, US (CA)

Top Pacific Striped Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. John Duvall, US (TX)
2. Kumie Saegusa, Japan
3. Martha MacNab, US (CA)
4. Blake Quinn, US (CA)
5. Richard Crowell, US (CA)
 
Top Indian Ocean Black Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Tie between: Jo-Ann Riley, Australia (WA) and Scott MacGowan, Australia
2. Mike Mason, Seychelles

Top Indian Ocean Blue Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Andrew Batian Craig, Kenya
2. Mike Mason, Seychelles
3. Hayley Dellar, Australia (WA)
4. Callum Looman, Kenya
5. Scott MacGowan, Australia

Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Brandon Poole, Seychelles
2. Mike Mason, Seychelles
3. Darryn Du Plessis, United Arab Emirates
4. Ethan Donnelly, Australia (NT)
5. Kelly Farrell, Australia (NT)

Top Indian Ocean Swordfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Danny Thomas, Seychelles
 
Top Atlantic Blue Marlin Release Anglers:
1. Mike Brauser, US (FL)
2. Jeffrey Cohen, US (FL)
3. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)
4. Ian Perez, US (FL)
5. Bruce Cohen, US (FL)

Top Atlantic Sailfish Release Anglers:
1. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)
2. Jacob Lepera, US (FL)
3. Tiffany Day, US (NC)
4. Thomas Smith, US (NJ)
5. Barry Weshnak, US (NJ)

Top Atlantic White Marlin Release Anglers:
1. Ibrahim Elouafi. Morocco
2. Laurent Sahyoun, France
3. Ian Perez, US (FL)
4. Mike Brauser, US (FL)
5. Sandra MacMillan, US (FL)
 
Top Pacific Black Marlin Release Anglers:
1. Sharon Poulter, Australia (QLD)
2. Barry Alty, Australia (QLD)
3. Sean Van Veijeren, South African
4. Matthew Boye, Australia (VIC)
5. Hamish Haigh, Australia (QLD)

Top Pacific Blue Marlin Release Anglers:
1. Jeffrey Cohen, US (FL)
2. Bruce Cohen, US (FL)
3. Laura Jessen, US (FL)
4. Barry Alty, Australia (QLD)
5. Charles Gaddy, US (NC)

Top Pacific Sailfish Release Anglers:
1. Tiffany Day, US (NC)
2. Scott Kozak, US (OH)
3. Gray Ingram, US (FL)
4. John Duvall, US (TX)
5. Laura Jessen, US (FL)

Top Pacific Striped Marlin Release Anglers:
1. John Duvall, US (TX)
2. Laura Jessen, US (FL)
3. Thomas Garmany, US (SC)
4. Barry Alty, Australia (QLD)
5. Erick Martinez, Costa Rica
 
Top Indian Ocean Black Marlin Release Anglers:
1. Riley Smith, Australia (WA)
2. Jason Browning, Australia (WA)
3. David Tompson
4. Murray Teasdale, Australia (QLD)
5. Kurt Wilson, Australia (WA)

Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Release Anglers:
1. Jason Browning, Australia (WA)
2. Ian Huxter, Australia
3. Scott Owens, Australia (QLD)
4. Brandon Poole, Seychelles
5. Mike Smith, Australia
 
Captains

Top Atlantic Blue Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Bertrand Bouchard, Gabon
2. Stuart Simpson, South Africa
3. Eddie Wheeler, US (FL)
4. Tim Richardson, Australia (NSW)
5. Olaf Grimkowski, Germany

Top Atlantic Sailfish Tagging Captains:
1. Randy Yates, US (FL)
2. Bouncer Smith, US (FL)
3. Fernando Duarte, Angola
4. Rogerio Matos, Angola
5. Jose Silva, Angola

Top Atlantic Swordfish Tagging Captains:
1. Tie between Rudy Urbain, France, and Nick Stanczyk, US (FL)
2. Jeffrey Wilson, US (TX)
3. Matthew Fahmie, US (FL)

Top Atlantic White Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Christian Benazeth, France
2. Tim Richardson, Australia (NSW)
3. Rafael Aguayo
4. Rich Barrett, US (FL)
5. Eddie Wheeler, US (FL)
 
Top Pacific Black Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Tim Richardson, Australia (NSW)
2. Craig Denham, Australia (QLD)

Top Pacific Blue Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Pete Wishney, US (CA)
2. Ben Horning, US (FL)
3. Gene Vander Hoek, US (HI)
4. Ronnie fields, US (FL)
5. Chris Choy, US (HI)

Top Pacific Sailfish Tagging Captains:
1. Chris Sheeder, US (FL)
2. Joshua Ruskey, US
3. Fong Pong, Malaysia
4. Ben Horning, US (FL)
5. Chico Alvarenga, Guatemala

Top Pacific Spearfish Tagging Captains:
1. Gene Vander Hoek, US (HI)
2. Al Gustavson, US (HI)
3. Chris Choy, US (HI)

Top Pacific Striped Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Jaime Gonzalez, Mexico
2. Ty Valli, US (CA)
3. Sean Holden, US (CA)
4. Lupe Gomez, Mexico
5. Ben Horning, US (FL)
 
Top Indian Ocean Black Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)
2. Scott MacGowan, Australia
3. Jo-Ann Riley, Australia (WA)
4. Perry Rosalie, Seychelles
5. Bernard Vale, Australia

Top Indian Ocean Blue Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)
2. Adam Ogden, Kenya
3. Leigh Freestone, Australia
4. Randy Bradley, United Arab Emirates
5. Perry Rosalie, Seychelles

Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Tagging Captains:
1. Darryn Du Plessis, United Arab Emirates
2. Ross Newton, Australia (WA)
3. Rolly Pierre, Seychelles
4. Perry Rosalie, Seychelles
5. Bomber Farrell, Australia (NT)

Top Indian Ocean Striped Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)

Top Indian Ocean Swordfish Tagging Captains:
1. Randy Bradley, United Arab Emirates
 
Top Atlantic Blue Marlin Release Captains:
1. Tim Popfinger, US (FL)
2. Cecil Lemonds, US (GA)
3. John Dudas, US (FL)
4. Bertrand Bouchard, Gabon
5. Tim Richardson, Australia (NSW)

Top Atlantic Sailfish Release Captains:
1. Dean Panos, US (FL)
2. John Dudas, US (FL)
3. Randy Yates, US (FL)
4. Jon Brooks, US (NJ)
5. Travis Ralph, US (FL)

Top Atlantic White Marlin Release Captains:
1. Stuart Simpson, South Africa
2. Christian Benazeth, France
3. Jon Brooks, US (NJ)
4. Dennis Endee, US (NC)
5. Fin Gaddy, US (NC)
 
Top Pacific Black Marlin Release Captains:
1. Paul Poulter, Australia (QLD)
2. Brett Alty, Australia
3. Craig Denham, Australia (QLD)
4. Nathan Brown, Australia (NSW)

Top Pacific Blue Marlin Release Captains:
1. Curtis Lind, US (FL)
2. Chris Sheeder, US (FL)
3. Brett Alty, Australia
4. Jason Brice, US (FL)
5. Ben Horning, US (FL)

Top Pacific Sailfish Release Captains:
1. Jason Brice, US (FL)
2. Brad Philipps, Guatemala
3. Ronnie Fields, US (FL)
4. Mike Day, US (NC)
5. Edward Bairez, Guatemala

Top Pacific Striped Marlin Release Captains:
1. Nathan Brown, Australia (NSW)
2. Ben Horning, US (FL)
3. Lupe Gomez, Mexico
4. Erik Chang, Mexico
5. Brett Alty, Australia
 
Top Indian Ocean Black Marlin Release Captains:
1. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)

Top Indian Ocean Blue Marlin Release Captains:
1. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)

Top Indian Ocean Sailfish Release Captains:
1. Eddy Lawler, Australia (WA)
2. Darryn Du Plessis, United Arab Emirates
 
Youth
Top Youth Tagging Anglers Ages 9-10:
1. Charles Gaddy, US (NC)
2. Tied between: Brycen O’Quinn, US (TX), and Darren Philipps, Guatemala
3. Cody Kodner, US (FL)

Top Youth Tagging Anglers Ages 11-12:
1. Ian Perez, US (FL)
2. Aidan Bouchard, Gabon
3. Rafael Abohbot, Angola

Top Youth Tagging Anglers Ages 13-15:
1. Kaleb Richardson, US (LA)
2. Aidan Burke, US (CA)
3. Hefner Appling, US (TX)
4. Teddy Kirkpatrick, US (FL)
5. Oliver Hoffman, US (IL)

Top Youth Tagging Anglers Ages 16-17:
1. Nuno Abohbot, Angola
2. Billy Carson, US (FL)
3. Shawn MacMullin, US (FL)
4. Toby Mason, Australia (WA)
5. Erikelson Cunha
 
Top Youth Release Anglers Ages 9-10:
1. Brown Gaddy, US (NC)
2. Darren Philipps, Guatemala
3. Charles Gaddy, US (NC)

Top Youth Release Anglers Ages 11-12:
1. Ian Perez, US (FL)
2. Aidan Bouchard, Gabon

Top Youth Release Anglers Ages 13-15:
1. Marc Monti, US (RI)
2. Teddy Kirkpatrick, US (FL)

Top Youth Release Anglers Ages 16-17:
1. Billy Carson, US (FL)
2. Parker Brown, US (TX)
3. Shawn MacMullin, US (FL)
 
Regional Winners
South Florida
Top Tagging Anglers:
1. Jacob Lepera
2. Dawn Samuels
3. John Fazio
4. Skylar Vallancourt
5. Billy Carson

Top Tagging Charter Captains:
1. Randy Yates
2. Bouncer Smith
3. Doug Covin

Top Tagging Private Captains:
1. Travis Ralph
2. Roger Rodriguez
3. Jacob Lepera
4. Mike Hunter
5. Chip Sheehan

Top Tagging Junior Anglers:
1. Billy Carson
2. Shawn MacMullin

Top Tagging Lady Anglers:
1. Dawn Samuels
2. Skylar Vallancourt
3. Robyn Naber
 
Top Release Anglers:
1. Jacob Lepera
2. Sandra MacMillan
3. Skylar Vallancourt
4. Billy Carson
5. Barry Weshnak

Top Release Charter Captains:
1. Dean Panos
2. Randy Yates
3. Doug Covin

Top Release Private Captains:
1. Travis Ralph
2. John Dudas
3. Jacob Lepera
4. Roger Rodriguez
5. Chip Sheehan

Top Release Junior Anglers:
1. Billy Carson

Top Release Lady Anglers:
1. Sandra MacMillan
2. Skylar Vallancourt
 
Gulf of Mexico
Top Overall Tagging Anglers:
1. Kaleb Richardson
2. Dana Foster
3. Rene Bonneval
4. JD Hebert
5. Lisa Foster

Top Overall Tagging Captains:
1. Chris Mowad
2. Myles colley
3. Shane O’Brien
4. Jimmy Guerineau
5. Marlin Brown

Top Blue Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Kaleb Richardson
2. Dana Foster
3. Rene Bonneval
4. Lisa Foster

Top Blue Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Myles Colley
2. Chris Mowad
3. Shane O’Brien
4. Patrick Ivie
5. Jimmy Guerineau
6. Marlin Brown

Top White Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Chris Mowad
2. Jimmy Guerineau

Top Tagging Junior Anglers:
1. Kaleb Richardson

Top Tagging Lady Anglers:
1. Lisa Foster
 
Hawaii
Top Overall Tagging Anglers:
1. Tie between: Candace Stewart and Paul Dolinoy
2. Michael Stewart
3. Mark Davis
4. Jimmy Humphries

Top Overall Tagging Captains:
1. Gene Vander Hoek
2. Chris Choy
3. Al Gustavson
4. Chuck Wigzell
5. James Dean

Top Blue Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Paul Dolinoy
2. Michael Stewart
3. Candace Stewart
4. Kirk Sorensen
5. Suzanne Gustavson

Top Spearfish Tagging Anglers:
1. Candace Stewart
2. Mark Davis
3. Brycen O’Quinn
4. Jimmy Humphries
5. Michael Stewart

Top Blue Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Gene Vander Hoek
2. Chris Choy
3. Al Gustavson
4. Chuck Wigzell
5. James Dean

Top Spearfish Tagging Captains:
1. Gene Vander Hoek
2. Al Gustavson
3. Chris Choy

Top Tagging Junior Anglers:
1. Brycen O’Quinn

Top Tagging Lady Anglers:
1. Candace Stewart
2. Suzanne Gustavson
3. Peggy Herum
4. Wendy Davis
5. Alisha Vanden Einde
 
Top Overall Release Captains:
1. Gene Vander Hoek
 
Cape Verde
Top Overall Tagging Anglers:
1. Farel Onanga
2. Bruno Tuband
3. Andrew Taylor
4. Jeff Brisson
5. Tie between: Damien Zissman, Eric Marion, Ingo Grimosky

Top Overall Tagging Captains:
1. Bertrand Bouchard
2. Stuart Simpson

Top Blue Marlin Tagging Anglers:
1. Farel Onanga
2. Bruno Tuband
3. Andrew Taylor
4. Jeff Brisson
5. Tie between: Damien Zissman, Eric Marion, Ingo Grimosky

Top Blue Marlin Tagging Captains:
1. Bertrand Bouchard
2. Stuart Simpson
 
Top Overall Release Anglers:
1. Tie between: Bruno Tuband, Damien Zissman, Farel Onanga

Top Overall Release Captains:
1. Bertrand Bouchard
2. Brad Philipps

Top Blue Marlin Release Anglers:
1. Tie between: Bruno Tuband, Damien Zissman, Farel Onanga

Top Blue Marlin Release Captains:
1. Bertrand Bouchard
2. Brad Philipps

MORE FISHING NEWS
FISHTRACK HOME PAGE