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Fishing Notes Fla Feb 2007

Offshore Classic returns to Islamorada

The Outdoor Channel is bringing its Offshore Classic to Islamorada in the Florida Keys for the third straight year, Jan. 14 to 16.

The two days of catch-and-release sailfishing will be filmed for television broadcast. The TV airdate has not been set. The tournament is to kick off Jan. 14, with registration 4 to 6 p.m. at the Islander Resort, Mile Marker (MM) 82.1 oceanside. A tournament briefing is set for 6:30 to 7 p.m., to be followed by a welcome cocktail party.

Fishing begins Jan. 15, with radio check-ins from 7:30 to 7:59 a.m. Lines In is to be called at 8 a.m., and Lines Out is to be called at 4 p.m.

Weigh-in of game fish (all billfish must be released) and delivery of scoring sheets to tournament control at the Whale Harbor dock, MM 83.9 oceanside, are to end at 6 p.m.

The final day of fishing, Jan. 16, runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Weigh-in ends and scoring sheets must be turned in by 5 p.m.

Scoring is based on 100 points awarded for any sailfish released in accordance with tournament rules, regardless of weight. Game fish (other than billfish) weighing a minimum of 20 pounds are to earn 1 point per pound for the angling team. Only two fish per species per day can be entered for points by each team.

The team that releases the most sailfish earns a 100-point bonus.

Tournament organizers say 80 percent of the entry fees will be distributed to the top three teams. Entry fee is $500 for a team of four anglers. Additional anglers can register for a team for $125 per person. A maximum of six anglers is allowed per team. The entry fee includes admission to all social events.

Social tickets are $125. Additional tickets to the awards banquet are $40 each.

For information and registration, call (808) 325-9896 or e-mail .

U.S. makes push for bluefin tuna recovery

Representatives from the United States fought for tougher conservation measures to end overfishing of eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean bluefin tuna during a meeting of the international commission that manages tuna and tuna-like species.

The 2006 stock assessment of these fish included the opinion that the stock is being over-harvested and will collapse if strong conservation measures were not adopted and implemented. The meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, or ICCAT, was held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, last fall.

“The United States wants to manage commercial tuna fishing in an environmentally sound way,” said Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. “We want to limit harvests to sustainable levels to ensure the future of tuna stocks and the fishermen who depend on them. We will continue to work with the world’s fishing community towards these goals.”

The United States supported reducing annual eastern bluefin tuna catches to 16,500 tons and expanding the closed season in the Mediterranean to the peak spawning month of June for all bluefin tuna fleets, which catch bluefin using different types of fishing gear.

Local gamefish writer remembered

Jim Hardie, a prolific writer and advocate for the IGFA, died Oct. 30 at the age of 75.

A native of Winston-Salem, N.C., who lived the past 40 years in Miami, Fla., Hardie had been an IGFA Representative on the International Committee and long-time friend of the organization.

An outdoors writer for the Miami Herald, he wrote nearly 10,000 newspaper stories on fishing since 1967 and was the first outdoor writer in Florida to catch a swordfish, which weighed in at 366 pounds. His weekly byline in the Herald’s “Fishing Forecast” often featured world record news and notes about fishing, conservation and the IGFA.

Hardie later became the tournament director for the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship he co-founded with the late Tex Schramm, owner of the NFL Dallas Cowboys. The format of the single-day tournament fished worldwide on July 4 awarded a huge purse for the angler/team with the heaviest blue marlin. Hardie paid the one-year membership fees for each angler that registered in the tournament.

The championship is beginning its 23rd year. Last year 150 entries were registered from across the globe and the winner, Christopher Brand of Portugal, was presented a check for $375,000 at a luncheon at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum for his marlin, which weighed 850 pounds, 9 ounces.

Hardie held executive positions in numerous outdoor writers groups and was inducted into the Big Game Room Hall of Fame at the Miami Boat Show in February 2006.

IGFA President Rob Kramer says a perpetual trophy will be dedicated to Hardie’s memory at this year’s World Cup Blue Marlin Championship.

IGFA Hall of Fame enshrines five

Five honorees were inducted into the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame at the eighth annual celebration in October.

• John W. “Jack” Anderson II fished for species all over the world. An IGFA Trustee since 1976, he served on the Advisory Committee that was instrumental in creating the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum. Anderson, who resides in Palm Beach, Fla., says he was surprised to be inducted: “It seems wrong to get an award for doing something that gave me so much fun.”

• Charles Alma Baker, a businessman who died in 1941, was a pioneer big-game angler in New Zealand who persuaded Zane Grey to visit the country in 1926. The subsequently published account of this trip, “Tales of the Angler’s Eldorado New Zealand,” described the fishing opportunities available in the country that Baker continued to promote through the early part of the 20th century.

• Bill Dance became one of the first full-time bass pros and was credited with catching the first bass in Ray Scott’s 1967 All-American Bass Tournament (the forerunner to today’s Bassmaster Tournament Trail), He went on to win eight BASS tournaments between 1968 and 1970, and is the recipient of three BASS “Angler of the Year” titles. His television show, “Bill Dance Outdoors,” has been airing for 38 years.

• Hidenori Onishi was one of the founders of the Japan Game Fish Association in 1979 and was JGFA Chairman until his death in 1998. Hank Onishi was a vocal proponent of billfish conservation helping to inaugurate the JGFA’s successful tag-and-release program in 1985.

• Milton C. Shedd was a leading oceanographer, a lifelong conservationist, and one of the first anglers to participate in tagging studies. Shedd also pioneered live-bait casting for marlin, co-founded Sea World, helped create the UCLA Marine Science Center, and in the early 1970s started the white sea bass hatchery program. In 1973 Shedd purchased AFTCO Manufacturing Company, today a leading manufacturer of tackle and apparel. He died in 2002 from cancer.

‘Old timers’ ready for return of the Flutie

The annual Capt. Al Flutie Over the Hill Rip-Off, set for Jan. 22 and 23, in Islamorada, Florida Keys, is still jokingly known by participants as “almost too much fun for old guys to handle,” according to many anglers.

Now in its 18th year and known locally as the Flutie, the all-release sailfish tournament limits entry to anglers age 50 and over.

Kick-off is scheduled for Jan. 22, at the Oceanview Inn & Sports Pub, mile marker 84.5 bayside. The pub is owned by self-described “NFL has-been” Gary Dunn, who won two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Lines In is to be called at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, and Lines Out is set for 4 p.m.

Cocktails and storytelling are to begin at 6 p.m. at the Oceanview, known by locals as “the OV.” The tournament awards banquet and a live auction are slated to follow at 7 p.m. Entry fee is $150 per angler.

All proceeds benefit cystic fibrosis research and the Keys’ Monroe Association for Retarded Citizens. More than $30,000 was donated to Keys charities in 2006 through the Flutie, according to tournament organizers.

For information call (305) 852-7703.