Tournament Anglers Association (TAA) was incorporated in February 1983 as a California nonprofit corporation. It is tax exempt under both Federal and California law as a recreational club. As stated in its Articles of Incorporation, TAA was created “to foster national and international competition and conservation for saltwater game fish in the Eastern Pacific region”. Membership in TAA is open to all persons who subscribe to good sportsmanship, fair play and angling by the rules, as established by The International Game Fish Association (IGFA).
History of Tournament Anglers Association
TAA is a club member of IGFA and anglers must be members of IGFA in order to fish in TAA sanctioned tournaments.
During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the founders of TAA became increasingly concerned about the future of ethical tag and release billfish tournaments on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Big money ‘jackpot’ kill events began to appear in Baja and the major producer of tag and release tournaments, Dick Wilkes, was about to retire. In view of this, the founders, John Jackson, Bill Hoey and Neal McNamara, decided to form TAA.
The initial TAA event was The Tournament of Champions held at the Hotel Solmar in Cabo San Lucas during November 1983. The first Eastcape Billfish Tournament took place at the Hotel Punta Colorado in July 1984 and the Ixtapa Sailfish Tournament began in 1990. The Tournament of Champions was discontinued after the 1995 event due to deteriorating fishing conditions in Cabo. The final Ixtapa event took place in January 2010. The reason for the cancellation was that thelocal sailfish population had declined dramatically in the Ixtapa and Zjhuateneo region, due to excessive commercial fishing. At that point, TAA decided to start a new billfish tournament in Cabo, commencing in January 2011.
Since the beginning, TAA has produced over 50 tournaments and its members have released more than 6000 billfish in sanctioned competition. All tournaments are managed by members on a voluntary basis and no fees or commissions are paid to anyone involved. No cash prizes are given and awards are in the form of fishing tackle or gift certificates redeemable through tackle catalogs.
The Eastcape Billfish Tournament and the re-established Ixtapa Sailfish Tournament are qualifying tournaments for the annual Offshore World Championship. The top four anglers in each event make up the teams and TAA teams have done very well since the first IGFA championship was held in Kona; a TAA team has placed in the top five on four occasions. In 2000, the Eastcape team came in fifth;in 2001, the Ixtapa team was third; in 2002 the Eastcape team was third; and in 2003 the Ixtapa team was fifth. One of the Ixtapa team members was top individual angler in 2001 and members of the Eastcape team won the Wahoo division in 2002 and again in 2003.
There are five IGFA Representatives among the membership as well as a former IGFA President and the former Chair of The Billfish Foundation.
All of TAA sponsored tournaments require the use of circle hooks. Circle hooks will invariably hook fish in the corner of the mouth, making it much easier to release a fish with minimal handling and unharmed.
TAA keeps track of all members’ billfish releases at approved competitions and awards colorful patches in recognition of such achievements, in increments from 5 releases to 250