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Poco ruling no bueno with snubbed anglers

By BY ALBERT ALVARADO
July 20, 2010 at 2:20 a.m.


PORT O'CONNOR - Controversy continues to surround the outcome of last weekend's Poco Bueno offshore fishing tournament.

On Tuesday, conflicts arose about the conversation between Wayne Brock, the owner of the Marlin Majic, and Rob Kramer, president of International Game Fishing Association.

Brock's boat brought in the winning marlin on Friday, but the title was stripped from them Saturday when the Poco Bueno committee ruled the boat crew violated tournament rules surrounding the landing of the fish.

They awarded the 2010 Blue Marlin Championship to Whap Bam Boom's 465-pound fish.

Brock contacted the association Monday to clarify the rule that the Poco Bueno committee used as the basis for disqualifying their fish.

The association told Brock based on his account the fish was not successfully gaffed.

"They attempted to gaff the fish and the fish got away, that's what he told me," Kramer said.

Brock maintained the 476.5-pound marlin was gaffed before it got away.

"I never told him it was an unsuccessful gaff," Brock said. "If it was an unsuccessful gaff it wouldn't have penetrated the skin."

The tournament committee received handwritten protest letters recounting eyewitness accounts of the incident in question, according to a news release from Poco Bueno Tournament Director Walter W. Fondren IV on Monday.

Fondren said by e-mail Tuesday the facts of Monday's news release have not been disputed. "The Poco Bueno Committee stands by our decision."

Poco Bueno is not affiliated witrh the IGFA. Its rules apply only for fish submitted to the organization for world records. Kramer said if the fish caught by Marlin Majic was submitted for a record, it would have been disqualified.

"Absolutely, unequivocally the fish would have been denied a record," Kramer said.

The association was developed seven years ago for record fish.

Because the Marlin Majic's marlin wasn't submitted for a record, the IGFA does not have to intervene on the situation, Kramer said.

Although many fishing tournaments use IGFA rules as a basis for their events, tournament committees aren't obligated to follow the rules.

"That would be up to the tournament. That's not up to IGFA because this is not a record situation. This is a tournament situation," Kramer said.

A gaff is a rod or pole with a large hook attached to the end used to land a large fish.

Under IGFA rule No. 14, the rule quoted in the disqualification, a catch will be disqualified "if a fish escapes before gaffing or netting and is recaptured by any method other than as outlined in the angling rules."

Although Kramer said Brock told him Monday that the gaff was unsuccessful, Marlin Majic angler Jordan Adams contends the 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.

Adams contends the rule does not define what a successful gaff is.

"The rule book they have is so vague," Adams said. "They don't state that anywhere in the rule book."

Kramer said that gaffing is a process and a successful gaff would have resulted in the fish being brought back to the dock.

"Whether or not the hook of the gaff pierces the fish is irrelevant," Kramer said. "Based upon what we were told there was an attempt to gaff the fish and bring the fish onboard and the fish escaped during the process."

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