Thursday, December 23, 2010

Another Welcome Baja Tool

Even if your catch is not a possible record there are plenty of other functions…from planning your next trip, to tracking your IGFA Slam Club progress, to sharing your catches with family and friends.

Rob Kramer, International Game Fish Association (IGFA) President  and I had an opportunity to visit recently during the annual meeting of the Avalon Tuna Club. Kramer had just returned from Italy, where he had attended an International conference coordinating research and conservation efforts among many groups to provide a more unified international conservation voice.

Kramer's excitement was palpable over the Take Marlin off the Menu  campaign advancement of the Billfish Conservation Act (Bill HR5804), and which he expects to be reintroduced in the next session of the house and senate. This is the result of an extensive national  campaign beginning over two years ago following a study commissioned by IGFA that revealed the United States to be the world’s biggest importer of billfish.  IGFA and the National Coalition for Marine Conservation have joined forces focusing on educating the American public as to what billfish are, their role in the marine ecosystems, and their imperiled status from commercial overfishing. The two-and-half-year campaign has gained the enthusiastic support of many, including the Wolfgang Puck Restaurant chain and the Wegmans Supermarket chain along with many U.S. policymakers. The legislation is the culmination of the campaign’s efforts thus far, and when approved and voted into law, will put a complete stop to commercial harvest, sale and importation of billfish in the United States.

Next, Kramer showed me his iPhone, which was loaded with the beta version of a very cool, new IGFA app.  It offered a remarkable list of features that once downloaded to the phone would provide the latest IGFA data and can be accessed even in remote locations where you may not have cell service.   

Suppose that you land a big fish which you hope could be a world record contender; regardless of where you are, you have the entire IGFA world record database updated with the latest records on over 1100 species in your pocket. This allows  you to verify your potential world record catch on the spot, releasing any that might not be a contender.  The app will also provide you with the location of the nearest,  official IGFA Weigh Station, along with maps to direct you there.

Or you might want to consult the IGFA International Angling Rules – for both conventional and flyrod – to make sure your catch won’t be disqualified.

Even if your catch is not a record there are plenty of other functions…from planning your next trip, to tracking your IGFA Slam Club progress, to sharing your catches with family and friends.

There is an extensive IGFA Species ID, including incredible full-color images of every record game species by marine artists Diane Rome Peebles and Duane Ravers.  The descriptions include extensive reference material with thorough habitat information, geographic distribution and anatomy…all right there at your fingertips.

That's a lot of information for any angler to have at their fingertips, but there's much more. Take a photo with your iPhone of the huge fish you landed, enter the details of your fight and upload to Facebook or email with one easy step, including GPS coordinates.  

Create your own customizable wish list of species that you want to target or your progress toward various IGFA Weight Club (for bass, snook, or bonefish) or IGFA Slam Club. 

It even offers a trip-planning function that will allow the angler to plan ahead for a great day on the water.

My personal list of "Don't leave home without it" already includes  SPOT,  a Garmin GPS loaded with Baja Navigator map, and now the new IGFA Mobile App will be included in that list. (It’s only available from the IGFA.)           

For all of you who are Apple-deprived, President Rob Kramer informed me that another version for other smart phones is already in the works. At an introductory price of $8.99 the IGFA  iPhone Mobile and iPad App is a must-have item for any Baja angler.  This would make a terrific
Christmas present for the Baja angler in your life!

I.G.F.A. iPhone Mobile and iPad App