As promised, Gray Fishtag Research, Inc. (GFTR) recently expanded their wildly successful, non-profit Multi-Species Charter Boat Tagging program implemented in Costa Rica and has now been introduced to Baja Sur.
“Tracy and Marco Ehrenberg, owners of Pisces Sport Fishing and long-time supporters of tag and release, own and manage over 35 sport fishing charter boats, have agreed to create the Pisces Research Center,” Bill Dobbelaer, general manager of Gray Taxidermy, Pompano Beach, Fla., announced recently at the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament. "We look forward to working together on this fast-growing and exciting project.”
THE OTHER TWO boats managed to tag three dorado and one blue marlin.
“In addition,” he added, “the Red Rum fleet owned by John Donovan, and the Go Deep fleet run by Captain Frankie, have also agreed to be part of the program.”
Captain Frankie was the first Captain to deploy a GFTR tag in a blue marlin estimated to weigh approximately 350 pounds. Previously, this was a fish that would have been killed.
During the WON event the GFTR team introduced the program to the participants as well as to the public. The response was overwhelming as anglers crowded their display to hear more about the project.
During the tournament, the team trained the top local fleets and supplied them with the necessary tools and tags to get started.
The two Gray offices as well as the Pisces office will offer the products and receive the data cards in the Marina so everyone can collect the data necessary to grow the model and track the multiple species that Cabo has to offer. There are over 400 active charter boats in one Marina in Cabo and the amount of data possibilities are staggering.
Last summer, GFTR invited me to become involved and provided me with ample tagging kits to distribute to Guides who fished either from the beach or boats. Roosterfish are the primary target, though they are also interested in many other inshore species.
Gary Bulla, a fly fishing guide from Santa Paula, Calif., frequently hosts trips to the Los Arenas area, had the honor of having one of his clients be the first to place a GTFR tag in a roosterfish in Baja. His season recap which follows was encouraging:
“On my trip to Baja this fall, there was more sardina fry around than I have seen in all my years of inshore fishing . . . acres and acres.”
“Most of the roosters were small that we caught on fly. The big boys were traveling solo and keyed on ladyfish; our sardina would not bring them up except for a look.”
Bulla continued, “The roosters we caught were mostly in the Bahia del Muertos or near Cerralvo. If I had used the tags on dorado as well, we would have run out of tags the second day. This is a great program! Grays sending out certificates and contacting the client when a tag is recovered is terrific. Thanks for including me and my clients.” …Gary Bulla's Saltwater Flyfishing Adventures.
On Saturday, after the Los Cabos Tuna Jackpot Tournament was completed, GTFR Team invited staff members to join them aboard boats provided by Pisces, Red Rum and Go Deep for a day of fishing and to observe the tagging process first-hand.
Dale Hightower from Seaguar, Alex Henry from GTFR, along with one of the Okuma Representatives were aboard the “Go Deep.” As always, every fishing trip is an “expect the unexpected” and this one was no different.
After passing land’s end and heading north toward Cabo Falso, we found a school of porpoise with a few tuna and a striped marlin or two. The mate tossed out a caballito and was bit instantly; when the porpoise leaped off the stern, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It had the bait and hook in the corner of its mouth!
I had never seen that happen in my entire fishing career. Alex Henry shrugged his shoulders, commenting that it happens frequently in Florida. Go figure…
Turned out that was the only notable event for us that day. The other two boats managed to tag three dorado and one blue marlin.
The Los Cabos sport fishing community has already embraced the tagging program in a big way.
Dobbelaer and his team’s two-year collaborative effort is already making a difference in the International sport fishing community. Less than one year old, the organization has assembled an impressive advisory panel of industry leaders – all game-changers in their own right – who recognize potential international possibilities that would combine recreational angling, sport fishing operations, scientists and researchers globally. This information will provide data that could assist world leaders in making the best possible decisions in order to preserve world-wide resources for generations to come.
For more information visit http://grayfishtagresearch.org/