Fishing News

IGFA Award Winners

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) today announced the winners of the IGFA Annual Awards. The awards recognize individuals for their outstanding accomplishments and vital contributions to sport fishing. 

“These highly accomplished anglers and scientists have pushed the sport forward in a positive direction,” said IGFA President Nehl Horton. “We are grateful for their commitment to conservation, their passion for game fish, and commitment ethical angling. These honorees exemplify the core mission of the IGFA, and today, we recognize them for their contributions.”  

Gil Keech Heavy Tackle Award: Peter Pakula
The Gil Keech Heavy Tackle Award acknowledges outstanding angling accomplishments with heavy tackle. In 1975, Pakula developed a line of trolling lures. The lures, revered by captains, remain one of the most popular and successful lure collections available.   

Captains cited the Pakula Sprocket and Pakula Paua Hothead Mosquito lures as top producers in Marlin magazine's 2018 list of the world's best marlin lures. The Pakula Lumo Sprocket was also ranked third in Marlin magazine's Top Ten Lures of All Time.   

In addition to developing lures, Pakula is also considered an authority on rigging and effective fishing measures. He freely shares his knowledge, tactics, and techniques through numerous seminars and publications.   

Bob Herder Light Tackle Award: George Hogan Jr. The Bob Herder Light Tackle Award acknowledges outstanding accomplishments with light tackle. Hogan has 26 IGFA World Records to his name; notably, all were caught using line no heavier than 8 pounds. Some of Hogan's significant records include a 202-pound Pacific blue marlin caught on an 8-pound line, a 141-pound Pacific blue marlin on 4-pound line, a 139-pound tarpon caught on 6-pound line, and a 132-pound striped marlin caught on 2-pound line.  

Chester H. Wolfe Outstanding Sportsmanship Award: Peter Fithian 
The Chester H. Wolf Outstanding Sportsmanship Award acknowledges an angler's commitment to fair play, merit, and ethical behavior while fishing a tournament. Fithian, an IGFA Trustee Emeritus, is the founder of the venerable Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT), which is currently in its 60th year. The HIBT, predicated on good sportsmanship, sets high standards for fair play maintains a strict adherence to the IGFA's International Angling Rules.   

In addition to running a storied tournament, Fithian was instrumental in the creation of the IGFA Great Marlin Race. He was first to include billfish scientists in the competition to conduct research.   

IGFA Conservation Award: Tina Harris 
The IGFA Conservation Award acknowledges those who have made significant and outstanding contributions to the freshwater, saltwater, and fly fishing communities. For over 25 years, Harris has promoted billfish conservation and advocated for other game fish species through education and data collection as the Director of the African Billfish Foundation (ABF) in Kenya. Through Harris' efforts with the ABF, catch and release practices and billfish tagging has become more prevalent in East Africa.   

To date, the ABF has recorded over 62,000 tagged fish with nearly 4,000 tag recoveries, resulting in one of the most comprehensive recreational billfish databases in the Indian Ocean. Harris also mentors young Kenyans and provides funding for the next generation of billfish scientists.  

About the IGFA
Founded in 1939, the IGFA is a nonprofit organization committed to the conservation of game fish and the promotion of responsible, ethical angling practices through science, education, rule making, record keeping, and recognition of outstanding accomplishments in the field of angling. The IGFA also maintains world records in freshwater, saltwater, fly fishing, and junior angler categories. The IGFA has members in more than 100 countries.