Antigua, Guatemala – Capt. Brad Philipps has set yet another release record, this time crossing the 30,000 mark on Billfish in his career. His right hand of sixteen (16) years has been mate Kennedy Hernandez and on his left hand of nine (9) years is mate Johnny Garcia. Just three years ago, Capt. Philipps and Team hit the 25,000 mark on Billfish releases. At only 44 years of age though, there is no reason to think he can’t keep hitting milestones on the Billfish Odometer.
While the vast majority were Sailfish (28,000 +/-) he has likewise released over 1,000 Blue Marlin. When asked if catching that many billfish ever seems routine he said that “every day on the water is different, so it never gets routine”. He shared with us his thoughts on what it takes to chase these numbers.
It takes a lot of skill to consistently land big fish, but to hold release records is another game all together, as you can not just hook that one big one and land it. To out fish other top guys you have to be at the very top of your game day in day out, and do the same for decades, building the knowledge, skills, experience, reputation, client base and following. It is a demanding challenge and creating and catering to your lifestyle and personal needs is important if you wish to go the long haul. You need to see the big picture, it is not all glamour and you had better have a genuine passion for the game if you want to be one of the best.
When asked about the challenges of releasing this many fish, his answer had a lot to do with the Fishery. Guatemala has produced without a doubt more Sailfish than any other fishery in the World year end and year out. Maybe the bigger challenge is on the business side, where you have to be fishing enough days to get to these numbers, which means you better have the clients and a well maintained boat and gear.
While he has experienced some unbelievable days of fishing in Guatemala, the days he remembers the most he was not even the Captain. His most memorable days were weighing a Grander Bluefin Tuna in Nova Scotia for a friend and likewise assisted (just this year) in getting Big Oh’s 1,254 lbs. Blue Marlin in Cape Verdes.
Brad admitted he was all about goals, but his ultimate goal has nothing to do with fishing but rather his other passion, African Safaris. He has his eyes on a lodge where he can share the wonders of a Safari with some of the same adventure seeking anglers who have fished him through the years.
Given Capt. Philipps passion for fishing and the outdoors as a whole, we may be writing this same article at 50,000 Billfish.