The International Game Fish Association will conduct its first observer training course in New England in almost 10 years. The course will be conducted at the Westbrook Elks Club in Westbrook, CT, on June 17, 2017. The New England Salt Water Fishing Club and the International Game Fish Tournament Observers are co-hosting the event.
The course has been conducted at IGFA headquarters in Dania and other Florida locations for the past decade but officials now think it is time to include fishing enthusiasts from New England states. Current demand from tournament directors outstrips the supply of qualified observers.
The course trains captains, anglers, and mates to participate as observers in national and international billfish tournaments. Tournaments and our fisheries benefit by promoting billfish conservation through an all release venue.
The half-day session trains attendees on IGFA’s International Angling Rules and billfish identification. Additional topics covered in the class include observer etiquette and boating safety. The cost of the class is $150.00, which includes a training manual, two DVD’s, and a one-year IGFA membership. The class will run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Interested in taking the IGFA Observer Course?
Over the years, billfish tournaments have transformed into big business enterprises. Many prestigious tournaments now have enormous cash prizes and large numbers of participating anglers. With huge purses and egos on the line, concern often arises whether all participants are adhering to the letter of the rules.
This causes turmoil for tournament directors and, at its worst, prevents tournaments from adopting release formats. Observers on boats ensure a level playing field. But observers must be properly trained to do their jobs.
Once an individual has taken the course, they have the ability to observe in numerous exotic fishing destinations. Tournament locations that are presently utilizing observers include Costa Rica, Virgin Islands, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Bermuda, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Turks, Caicos, Bahamas, and Florida. These tournaments are held in luxurious resorts and the participating boats, crews and anglers are world class.