Although I have weighed many granders, I was one of the first individuals within the industry to consciously catch and release granders.
My conservation role began in 1992 as a lead Big Game Fishing ecologist and Billfish Foundation champion of tag & release. I was sincerely committed to the agreements made when fishing with Captains Gene Vanderhoek and Kevin Nakamaru when vowing to tag and release ALL of the Pacific Blue Marlin caught onboard the new 39’ Rybovich: SEA GENIE II, a historic first for the Kona fleet led by Gene; as well as being one of the first individuals to advocate Don Tyson’s Billfish Foundation tags in Kona and distributed these tags throughout the Great Barrier Reef fleet while fishing Australia onboard the new 46’ Assegai Marine: ASSEGAI.
In 1995, I invented the “SNOOTER” device with Captain Roddy Hays for the healthy release of giant Atlantic Blue Marlin in Madeira Portugal, which was featured in Marlin Magazine twice, 1998 and 2006. Also being sincerely committed to the ongoing agreement I made with Roddy to continue releasing ALL of the Atlantic Blue Marlin caught onboard MARGARITA, after Roddy planned to leave Madeira and asked me to take the reins of Atlantic Big Game in 1996. We intentionally released them all. Whether, or not, a fish appeared to be over the 1,000 pound mark. The ultimate outcome was to consciously catch and release many giant Atlantic Blue Marlin while fishing with numerous key individuals, over multiple full-seasons in Madeira Portugal 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999.
At that time, Madeira was teeming with the Who’s Who of Big Game Fishing. All rushing in to weigh their Granders. However to Roddy and me, it was absolutely more of a statement to release these magnificent Granders. This action came purely from our opposite consciousness.
After fishing the Hawaiian, Australian, and Madeiran heavy-tackle circuit nonstop 250–300 days a year for one and a half decades, I grew to understand that it was better to experience the International Big Game Fishing lifestyle as a front-line researcher and conservationist, rather than a trophy hunter. The highpoint was that every one of those grand fish in Madeira Portugal was most certainly alongside the boat and available for the taking, however, we chose to carefully revive these majestic fish using the “SNOOTER” device, removed the hook by hand, and released all of the fish – swimming upright, strong and colorful.