Chatting with Jack Vitek, IGFA Record Coordinator

Studying Time: 9 minutes

Jack Vitek has a job most anglers would commerce their very own for in a heartbeat: he’s the World File Coordinator for the IGFA.

The Worldwide Sport Fish Affiliation stays some of the authoritative voices of the worldwide angling group. The group has change into synonymous with catching a record-breaking fish, wherever on this planet that fish is likely to be caught.

We’ve had the pleasure of chatting with Jack concerning the IGFA’s mission, his picks for the world’s prime fishing hotspots, and naturally, setting a world fishing file.

Your title on the IGFA is ‘World File Coordinator’. What does that entail precisely?

It’s truly a few various things. The place is primarily chargeable for processing and sustaining all the world data which might be submitted to the IGFA.

We get about 700-800 file functions a 12 months, and for every one that is available in, we’ve to measure the leaders, take a look at the road, be certain all of the documentation is correct, and that there’s completely nothing unusual or misplaced with the applying.

We’re additionally in command of serving to all the anglers that contact us with questions on what they should submit, or simply what they will and may’t do with a view to catch a world file.

I additionally do a little bit of writing for the group, in addition to handle all of the IGFA ‘slams’ – the World Slams, the Grand Slams, the Trophy Fish Golf equipment, the Catch Certificates Program.

What’s the principle purpose behind the IGFA’s Catch Certificates Program?

That Program is definitely one thing that we’ve been placing a variety of effort into recently. It’s all about angler recognition: , not everybody of their lifetime will exit and catch a world file, however there are positively instances in your life while you exit and nonetheless catch a fish that’s actually particular to you, or it’s a extremely large fish, nonetheless. And though it’s not a world file, we are able to make a customized certificates that can assist you do not forget that catch and that day on the water. So we take it upon themselves to assist folks bear in mind these extraordinary experiences.

Your place can also be chargeable for working the IGFA Observer Coaching Program?

Sure, though the Observer Program is separate from World Information. An Observer is somebody acts in, say, massive worldwide Billfish tournaments. He nearly acts as a referee that may experience alongside and ensure every part’s achieved by the ebook. So if there’s a match with 40 boats, every boat could have an Observer that makes certain that every one the IGFA guidelines are adopted. We prepare these Observers to determine completely different species of Billfish, and educate them on all related IGFA guidelines. For instance, I’ll journey to completely different locations around the globe, and clarify what our guidelines are, why they’re in place and use them to make sure that everybody’s fishing in a sporting method.

What’s IGFA’s major mission?

Our predominant mission is to be the authority on all issues relating to leisure fishing. As you’ll be able to learn on the IGFA’s mission assertion, our major objectives are the conservation of sport fish and the promotion of accountable, moral angling practices by way of science, training, rule making and file maintaining. The massive a part of that’s the conservation of species that we maintain so pricey, and the training of our youth on issues similar to fish responsibly, be the stewards of the ocean and guarantee that there are alternatives for folks sooner or later to proceed to get pleasure from fishing.

Nevertheless it’s additionally about being an authority and setting guidelines about what leisure fishing actually is. What’s a sporting catch? What constitutes a sporting approach of fishing? We proceed to intention to determine these guidelines because the common tips on sport fishing.

It’s additionally about file maintaining?

Final however not least. Earlier than there was IGFA, there have been data for various golf equipment all around the globe. You had US golf equipment, European, South American golf equipment, and everybody had completely different data, completely different guidelines. IGFA was based to determine a regular algorithm and rules – and naturally, data – that everybody can use and look as much as. Our guidelines proceed to be included as a regular in lots of, if not hundreds of tournaments around the globe – they’re nonetheless the inspiration of all match angling.

What’s the principle inspiration for the IGFA and also you your self, in the case of the conservation of marine life?

I feel the principle factor is simply to make sure that there are fish round after we’re lifeless and gone. To make sure there are fish for future generations. We additionally really feel obliged to talk up for the leisure angler: with a lot industrial stress on fisheries, traditionally and presently, I feel it’s necessary for the leisure angler to have a voice, and I feel that’s the place IGFA is available in, serving to them discover that voice and aiding them with points pertaining to their particular areas.

Are you optimistic about the way forward for nice fisheries around the globe? Overfishing, as you stated, primarily attributable to industrial fishing is certainly taking its toll on the variety of fish species in addition to sport fish species worldwide. How do you suppose that the IGFA and the angling group ought to go about tackling these points sooner or later?

That’s actually a query for our conservation coordinators or our President, however clearly, you need to stay optimistic. We see statistics and obtain information that, , positively open your eyes to most of the points which might be occurring around the globe. We attempt to use that as motivation to work more durable, develop packages and help in conserving completely different sources that we’ve.

You guys are the pioneers of Catch and Launch practices. Leisure fishing nonetheless will get some unhealthy press on occasion – many individuals nonetheless consider that, based on the IGFA guidelines, killing a fish is required to set a world file. However, in lots of instances at the moment, that’s not completely true, is it?

No, completely not. As a matter of truth, over the previous 5 years or so, the variety of file functions that we obtain for fish which have been launched alive could be very near 50%. That’s attributable to plenty of causes. First, we actually attempt our greatest to advertise Catch and Launch by way of our media. So if there’s an angler units a file through catch and launch, we at all times intention to advertise that and provides it as a lot protection as potential with a view to educate folks. We’ve additionally launched packages – just like the All-Sort out size file program which is strictly Catch and Launch – which might be actually taking off recently.

As you stated, IGFA guidelines don’t say you need to kill a fish to submit it for a file. We do require that individuals weigh the fish on strong land. That is strictly as a result of in case you weigh a fish on a rocking boat, you received’t get an correct weight, which might devalue the data. However even then, we’ve seen folks give you wonderful ways to save lots of the fish: fishermen are very ingenious in the case of creating new conservation strategies. We’ve even had folks catch, weigh and launch hundred, even two-hundred-pound sharks throughout the final couple of years. Talking of species for which catch and launch will not be actually possible, say Billfish or Tuna, the quantity of data that we obtain for these large pelagic species is now extraordinarily low. As these data have been pursued for thus a few years by so many anglers around the globe, the bar has been set very excessive, so changing these data doesn’t occur fairly often anymore.

What are the fundamental guidelines for setting a world fishing file? If I’m a leisure angler, or I’m simply out fishing with my household on a trip and simply so occur to catch the most important fish of my life, what are the issues that I completely should know?

The most typical rule violation we see is that just one individual should struggle the fish always. In case your arms get a bit sore, so your pals or household take over combating the fish for some time, after which hand it again to you, that’s not going to work. There needs to be one individual combating the fish always.

One other large rule violation is your deal with not conforming. One of many greatest issues right here is the rising reputation of braided line and Spectra. I imply, it’s IGFA-legal, you should use that, however there are actually some points with them that lots of people don’t understand.

Like the truth that they have a tendency to overtest?

They overtest by loads. So if somebody’s on the market and so they’re fishing for a 6-kilo or an 8-kilo line class file, and they’re utilizing 6 or 8-kilo braid, that braid’s going to overtest that, and so they’re going to be a 15 or 20-kilo line class file. We see a variety of rejected data particularly as a result of somebody used a braided line, and even monofilament to a lesser extent, that’s not tournament-rated.

These are positively two of the most important causes that we see fish not being permitted for a file. But additionally, in case you catch a file fish, what you need to do is straight away save the deal with that you just caught it on, weigh it on an authorized scale, and get loads of photograph and video documentation, in order that we are able to determine the fish and the angler who caught it.

Tough estimate: what number of file functions do you get from those that didn’t essentially plan on catching a large, record-shattering fish, however simply occurred to be in the suitable place on the proper time?

Ah, that’s a superb query. I’d say it’s about half. Half of the data we obtain are from individuals who, , simply occurred to be out their fishing. They weren’t searching for a world file per se, however have been fortunate sufficient to catch one and went by way of the method. On the opposite aspect, you will have these fishermen who’re aware of the IGFA and world data. The goal-oriented anglers which might be actively pursuing a world file. You get either side of the story.

I’m certain lots of people would have an interest to know the reply to this: based mostly on the variety of file functions that you just obtain from anglers worldwide, what could be your picks for greatest deep sea fishing places on the planet?

It’s humorous that you just ask that, we’re truly engaged on placing an article about prime record-producing locations on this planet. If you happen to’re searching for, say, Billfish or these sorts of huge pelagic species – Panama and Costa Rica are at all times nice locations. Cabo San Lucas has persistently produced Billfish, Tuna, Wahoo data. Hawaii is one other nice large sport spot. Angola…


Angola’s actually been arising on the map: they’ve among the greatest Atlantic Sailfish on this planet. We’ve had two data come out of there within the current years, and like I stated, getting these large sport data could be very uncommon certainly. The entire east coast of Africa – Kenya and neighboring nations – there’s a variety of untapped potential there. Cape Verde and among the different islands off of Africa have actually been sizzling with Billfish. Madeira and the Azores are wonderful European hotspots too.

There are additionally wonderful islands within the South Pacific – Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu – lot of potential there in the case of Wahoo and Billfish. You possibly can’t neglect about Australia and New Zealand both – we’ve had some spectacular swordfish catches come to us from New Zealand. Papua New Guinea is beginning to blow up as a deep sea fishing location as effectively. The Florida Keys themselves (particularly Key West) have produced extra saltwater world data than another location on this planet. I feel there are many different wonderful fisheries too: these are only a couple that come to thoughts.

What a couple of fly fishing Grand Slam? Allow, Bonefish, Tarpon: greatest picks?

Cuba, particularly in case you’re a part of the European crowd. Cuba has been top-of-the-line locations within the final couple of years, and persons are simply beginning to find out about it. Once more, the Florida Keys. Mexico – particularly Ascension Bay, Ambergris Caye in Belize, all these locations are inshore Grand Slam hotspots.

I’ve only in the near past heard a couple of man named Martin Arostegui, that has set over 400 world fishing data by himself. I’m simply questioning – do folks like him get like a particular Christmas card from you yearly?

*laughs* We’re fortunate sufficient that Dr. Martin truly lives in South Florida, so we get to see him within the constructing fairly a bit. He is available in my workplace once in a while – often has a few data to drop off – and we speak for some time. He’s an unimaginable angler, completed over 400 data which nobody is even near. With regards to determining catch a world file, he’s most likely top-of-the-line within the enterprise, if not the greatest.

Lots of people don’t suppose they will catch a file fish anymore. However the IGFA file books simply hold getting up to date. Would you say there’s nonetheless an actual likelihood for a leisure angler to grab a record-breaking fish?

Oh, completely, particularly with the completely different file classes that we’ve. For instance, we simply opened up an entire new class of line class data for our freshwater species. Up to now, they’ve been gender-neutral: there’s been no separation for freshwater data between women and men. Saltwater species, alternatively, had males’s and girls’s data for over 20 years now. So we’ve just lately opened males’s and girls’s classes for freshwater data, and there’s lots of of vacancies which might be nonetheless ready to be crammed, which we’re actively making an attempt to get out and promote.

To not point out the truth that, what lots of people don’t understand is there are new fish species being submitted yearly, species that nobody has ever submitted for a file earlier than. So long as that fish is taken into account trophy-size, you’ll be able to nonetheless submit it for a file. Simply contact me, ship me the pictures, deal with and the fish’s scientific identify: we are able to look it up and I can inform you if it’s ever been submitted earlier than or not.

There’s at all times a possibility. That’s the beauty of fishing: you don’t at all times exit and catch a file, you don’t even at all times exit and catch fish, however there’s at all times that attract behind your thoughts that this could possibly be the day while you do discover that fish of a lifetime.

Thanks Jack!