IN THE AF­TER­MATH

Marlin - - CONTENTS - Igfa.org/warf mar­lin.me/catch­meinthekeys. Sam White Editor

Just days af­ter we shipped the pre­vi­ous is­sue of Mar­lin to the printer, Hur­ri­cane Maria roared ashore in Puerto Rico as a dev­as­tat­ing Cat­e­gory 4 ma­jor storm, the worst the coun­try had seen in more than 80 years. The en­tire is­land ex­pe­ri­enced hur­ri­cane-force winds as the mas­sive storm swept in, bring­ing with it high seas, tor­ren­tial rains and some of the worst con­di­tions imag­in­able. Much of the is­land could be with­out elec­tric­ity and run­ning wa­ter for some time; the ef­fects of Hur­ri­cane Maria will be felt there for years.

I first vis­ited Puerto Rico in 2004 for the Club Nau­tico de San Juan In­ter­na­tional Bill­fish Tour­na­ment. Now in its 64th year in 2017, it’s one of the long­est-run­ning and most pop­u­lar mar­lin tour­na­ments any­where in the world, and yet, aside from a few small dock­side wa­gers, there’s not a dime in prize money. Teams fish for brag­ging rights and some great tro­phies and prizes — plus it’s one hell of a party. It’s truly heart­break­ing to hear of the hard­ships and de­struc­tion com­ing from such a beau­ti­ful fish­ing des­ti­na­tion.

The Florida Keys and the Texas coast also bore the brunt of ma­jor storm dam­age from hur­ri­canes Har­vey and Irma this sum­mer, and they too will spend years re­build­ing. Like many of us, I found my­self won­der­ing: How can we help?

In re­sponse to that need, the IGFA, in part­ner­ship with Costa, has de­vel­oped the World­wide An­glers Relief Fund as a way to sup­port fish­eries around the world that have been im­pacted by nat­u­ral dis­as­ters. WARF will ac­cept do­na­tions from the recre­ational an­gling com­mu­nity and make grants di­rectly to lo­cal fish­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions and as­so­ci­a­tions in af­fected ar­eas in or­der to help speed re­cov­ery ef­forts, and get those hard­work­ing cap­tains and guides back on the wa­ter where they be­long. For more in­for­ma­tion, visit or call IGFA’s de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Eric Com­bast at 954-924-4325. Your do­na­tions might even be tax-de­ductible, but you should check with your CPA or tax pro­fes­sional first.

To help the Florida Keys get back on its feet, we de­vel­oped the Catch Me in the Keys cam­paign in part­ner­ship with Bluefin USA. Through so­cial me­dia, we raised aware­ness to let ev­ery­one know that the Keys was open for busi­ness; 100 per­cent of the net pro­ceeds from the sale of the unique Catch Me in the Keys long-sleeve per­for­mance shirt from Bluefin USA are go­ing to the Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion of the Florida Keys. To show your sup­port, head over to

The next step? That’s the easy part: Go fish­ing. There are plenty of cap­tains and guides in each of these ar­eas who are ready to get back out on the wa­ter. The Texas coast, the Florida Keys and Puerto Rico are all re­mark­ably re­silient, but they need our help. Tourism is the eco­nomic en­gine that drives busi­ness in these lo­ca­tions. Call ahead for reser­va­tions, but the best thing we all can do is visit these hard-hit des­ti­na­tions in the near fu­ture. Stay in the ho­tels. Eat in the restau­rants. Tip the cap­tains and crews a lit­tle more than usual. Not only will you have some great ex­pe­ri­ences on the wa­ter, but you’ll also be do­ing your part to help re­build the fish­ing com­mu­nity.

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