SGF kicks off free virtual tournament series

Submitted by Brett Fitzgerald on May, May 28, 2014


In an effort to bring more anglers into the data collection fold, the Snook & Gamefish Foundation is hosting a series of free 'virtual’ tournaments. Anglers across the country – and globe – are able to participate and potentially earn prizes just for participating.

YOU can participate in the next FREE events, which are scheduled for June 7-8. There will be both a fresh water tournament and an inshore tournament.

Designed to manage current tournaments as well as host new events that can focus on specific research needs, iAngler-Tournament has already successfully managed a tournament from the legendary Redbone series in the Florida Keys, and just this past weekend SGF hosted their inaugural virtual event, the “Stars & Stripes” Memorial Weekend tournament.

30 anglers responded to a limited invitation to join the free event, which included basic fishing categories for inshore, offshore, and fresh water. Anglers received points for all fish logged in the system, but the big points came from spotted sea trout, dolphin, and largemouth bass.

“The idea here was to get anglers used to the system, and to get used to the idea that every fish they catch has value in the world of fishery science, regardless of the species,” said Holly Andreotta, SGF Board Member. “SGF will continue to reach out to anglers, to engage them and find ways to include them in the process of building a better fishing future. iAngler-Tournament is a great way for anglers to get involved, whether it is a SGF event or an already established tournament. The data is very important.”

When using iAngler-Tournament, anglers are required to use their mobile smart device to record their catches and submit them to the tournament committee. This allows for ‘real-time’ updates of the leaderboard, which is appealing to most anglers. But the simplicity of use is what draws the most praise. Mark Naumovits, who racked up the most offshore points with a fine cache of dolphin, is familiar with the system because he uses iAnlger and thought the phone app enhanced the tournament experience. “I really liked the format of the new app. It was really easy to use – you don’t really need any coaching at all.” Overall winner Eric Shaheen said he and his girlfriend Tina Porada enjoyed the experience of fishing in the Stars & Stripes. “We fish together all the time and can get competitive with each other in a fun way, but we’ve never really been tournament anglers. This was a first for us.” Like the other anglers in the tournament, Eric felt that the fishing was a bit slow due to all of the holiday boat traffic and fishing pressure. Still, he caught enough to win first place overall, and Tina took the award for most trout. They will both receive some SGF goodies as well as a DOA B.O.B. kit. “We fish strictly artificial, so the DOA lures will not collect any dust on our boat!” Eric also said he is looking forward to future events, as well as logging his regular trips in iAngler.




What: Two FREE online tournaments. Inshore Weekend Series: Round 1, and Freshwater Weekend Series: Round 1

Who: You! And your friends. Anyone who is able to fish (has a license if required).

When: Saturday June 7 and Sunday June 8, 2014. Lines in at 5AM, Lines out at 7PM daily. Fish must be logged by 8PM on the day of the catch. Where: Any freswater or inshore spot you want to fish!

Why: Take a chance at winning some prizes, and do some good for fishery science. Get involved - go fishing and log your catch!

How: Sign up for iAngler Tournament (create a username and password). Then register for the tournament of your choice!

Did you know? The Angler Action Program has already logged over 33,000 fish. Anglers are making a difference, and you can too by simply logging your catches.

Bill Clutter, one of the anglers who won the DOA lure kit from a random drawing among anglers, agreed with the other anglers. “It’s not about the prizes here, it’s about collecting data. This system accomplishes that in such an easy way, you might forget that you are helping scientists learn about our fish.

SGF Chairman Capt. Jim Bandy thinks this new form of data collection will fit nicely within the AAP family. “Previously, just about all of the critical data from fishing tournaments either evaporated as soon as the party ended, or was only collected in gross measurements. Now, researchers will get real-time data points of what species are caught, where, and when. This is especially important for catch and release species, because the data on them is almost non-existent.” Bandy points out that because the tournament data is collected in a different format than traditional measures, it won’t be used to make direct comparisons with current fishery models. But he assures that the nature of the data will surely enhance the overall process of fishery assessment, including habitat mapping. “This is a whole new sandbox for scientists to play in. We aren’t competing with scientists, we are helping them. We aren’t fighting current stock assessment models, we are enhancing them. Since our data is protected, it is a win-win for everybody

.” Any angler who is able to fish, meaning they have a license if required, can participate in the upcoming fishing tournament and it’s absolutely free. By participating, you will be helping SGF develop the technology as well as contribute to data collection.

“Angler involvement is going to be the most important factor in protecting our fisheries for generations to come. The AAP family of programs plugs anglers directly into the process. As more and more anglers participate, we’ll become increasingly powerful as a driving force for conservation.”

Sign up today, and take a few minutes to log a fish in the iAngler Practice Tournament. That way you will be completely ready to hit the water on June 7-8 and start logging data.

SGF note: iAngler-Tournament was created thanks to a very generous contribution from the Fleming Foundation. Also, many thanks to DOA Lures for their support after a very last minute request! There are some really good peeps out there who care about our fisheries, and SGF appreciates every one of 'em.