Being a part of the sportfishing community and having an opportunities to work alongside our Tag & Release Program sponsors as well as captains and anglers, to put our initiatives to practice is not only fun but vital to our mission for billfish conservation. This past January, YETI Coolers, Costa Sunglasses, and TBF staff joined TBF board member, Capt. Fin Gaddy on the Qualifier in Isla Mujeres for a few days to build on and promote the future of billfish conservation.
If you are unfamiliar, Isla Mujeres, Mexico is one of the best places in the world to catch Atlantic sailfish as huge numbers of sailfish come to the waters off of the Yucatán Peninsula to feed on the massive aggregations of sardines. Captain Fin Gaddy of Qualifier Charters has been coming to this small Mexican Island for more than a decade and was kind enough to host staff members from Costa and TBF along with cameraman, Oliver Rogers (www.oliverrogersphotography.com) to capture Costa and YETI gear in action and of course, tagging dozens of sailfish! Baitballs, good weather, and big numbers of hungry sailfish all cooperated for an opportunity to get some amazing images. The number of fish seen also gave Amanda Sabin and Todd Barker from Costa plenty of practice at tagging after some coaching on proper tagging techniques from TBF staff and first mate, Colin Oxnard (one time TBF intern). After three full days of fishing Capt. Gaddy led the team to tag 38 sailfish and release another 35. Needless to say, there wasn’t a lack of action to get on film!
The time spent looking back at the spread was also a great opportunity for everyone on board to discuss matters surrounding billfishing conservation and continue to build synergy to tackle these issues. The combination of working with industry leaders and the top captains gives us a good pulse on what is happening and just goes to show the shared passion and understanding of a shared responsibility to ensure the future of the resource and the sport.
The beautiful images will help to show how amazing billfish are, spread the conservation message across the globe and visualize the importance of tagging. Of course, the YETI and Costa gear on board certainly helped to get some great shots of everyone tagging in style! Keep an eye out for more images to come and we’re sure you will enjoy them!