Poco Bueno committee stands by its decision to disqualify catch
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The Poco Bueno Tournament Committee responded Monday to accusations that Marlin Majic was unfairly disqualified from the 2010 Poco Bueno Tournament.
A press release sent by tournament director Walter W. Fondren IV cited International Game Fishing Association rules No. 1 and No. 14 as the basis of the tournament committee's decision. Poco Bueno officials did not elaborate on how they interpret those rules.
Although the Marlin Majic crew and the tournament committee agree on the facts regarding how the fish was captured, the disqualification based on IGFA rules has caused controversy.
"We went round and round about it because rule No. 14 has absolutely nothing to do with our scenario," said Marlin Majic crew member Jordan Adams on Monday.
According to Adams, the 476.5-pound marlin was gaffed on the side of the boat, became separated from the gaff and leader and jumped back into the water, where the crew gaffed it a second time.
IFGA rule No. 14 states that a catch is disqualified if "a fish escapes before gaffing or netting and is recaptured by any method other than as outlined in the angling rules."
The Poco Bueno Tournament Committee used this rule as a basis for its decision, even though the press release acknowledges the fish was gaffed the first time.
"The fish was fought to the side of the boat, the leader parted and the gaff pulled free from the fish," the release said. "According to IGFA rules No. 14 and No. 1, at that point in time, the fish is free swimming and constitutes an escape. At that point, the fish is lost."
Adams and the crew of the Marlin Majic feel the tournament committee disqualified them based on a scenario not covered in the IGFA rules.
"They couldn't give us a valid rule for disqualifying us, but they did it anyway," Adams said. "I can see you disqualifying us if you can show me a rule, but they're not showing us a definitive rule that we broke."
The disqualification gave the tournament victory to Whap Bam Boom.
According to the press release, the tournament committee received handwritten protest letters recounting eyewitness protests of IGFA rules violations and questioned the crew of the Marlin Majic once they came ashore.
"According to crew testimony, the fish was not connected to the rod or gaff and the fish went away, then floated up at some time and distance and then they came alongside and capture the fish," the committee statement said.
According to Adams, the crew members weren't permitted to see the protest letters and a polygraph test of all parties involved was never discussed, even though the test is allowed, according to the IGFA rules book.
The tournament committee did not give information about what the purse was for winning the blue marlin contests, but a member of the Whap Bam Boom estimated the marlin prize at $500,000.
Whop Bam Boom captain Michael Walker wanted to address comments made by people on various websites.
"The guys that fish these tournaments, we abide by the rules and we are judged by IGFA and our peers," Walker said.
Fondren declined further comment in the e-mailed press release.
"These events are clearly in contrast to the intent of the angling rules and the Tournament Rules Committee made their decision based on the official rules of the IGFA and stand by their decision," the statement said.
Calls to IGFA headquarters and an e-mail to IGFA Rob Kramer were not returned.
Marlin Majic owner Wayne Brock declined to comment at this time because he is undecided about his next step pertaining to the committee's decision.