18th Annual IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame

The greatest accomplishments of sport fishing are far more extraordinary than a great catch alone. Although skill is certainly the core of the sport, the most outstanding individuals in recreational angling have also been captains, scientists, conservationists, writers, and fishing industry leaders. This year, the IGFA will induct five individuals into its Fishing Hall of Fame.
The first class, honoring 29 of sport fishing’s luminaries, was inducted in 1998. With the induction this year of Tim Choate, Jerry and Deborah Dunaway, Chico Fernandez, Dr. John E. Graves, and Orri Vigfusson, the total number of IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame members will grow to 116. Please save the date and join us as we honor and induct the 18th annual class.
18th Annual IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
International Game Fish Association
300 Gulf Stream Way
Dania Beach, FL 33004
6 pm Cocktails and Silent Auction
7:30 pm Dinner and Program
Tickets and Table Sponsorships:
Individual Tickets are $225 each
Table Sponsorships begin at $3,500
Please click here for more information on table sponsorships and tickets.
Reserve Your Seats Today:
Julia Shafer at [email protected] or 954-924-4222
Stay directly adjacent to the IGFA at
400 Gulf Stream Way
Dania Beach, FL 33004

2016 IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame Inductees

Tim Choate

An ardent angler since the mid-1950s, Tim Choate has made numerous contributions to the sport of big game fishing. He has grown and managed many charter fishing operations and lodges throughout Central and South America, including the famous Fins ‘N Feathers in Guatemala.
Choate has been instrumental in numerous conservation efforts. Along with Win Rockefeller, he was a co-founder of The Billfish Foundation and served as its first Director and is Chairman of the board of Wild Oceans, the United States’ oldest saltwater fish conservation group. He pioneered the use of circle hooks to enhance the survival rates of released billfish, well before their successful catch rates were proven. Choate has also helped to highlight the importance of socioeconomic studies by governments and conservation groups to validate the correlation between sport fishing and tourism- noting the value of fish for recreation over commercial use.


Jerry and Deborah Dunaway

Together, Jerry and Deborah Dunaway traveled the world in their famous mothership operation, the Madam & The Hooker, in pursuit of big game sport fishing and adventure. In doing so, the Dunaways helped to pioneer many new fisheries and have had a resonating influence on sport fishing worldwide.

Jerry Dunaway began offshore fishing in 1969 and has caught an unbelievable 203 Atlantic blue marlin, 36 Pacific blue marlin, 96 black marlin, 10 swordfish, as well as untold numbers of sailfish, white marlin and striped marlin. He was the first man to have IGFA records for Atlantic blue marlin on 2 kg (4 lb) and 4 kg (8 lb) lines.

Deborah Dunaway began fishing in 1985 and has fished in 18 countries, catching an unprecedented 23 IGFA billfish records, more than any angler in history. She is the only angler to have held IGFA records for all nine species of billfish. In 1993 she also became the only person to hold current records in all nine species at the same time.


Chico Fernandez

Chico Fernandez has been a resounding presence in the saltwater fly fishing community for decades. Fernandez has written several books on fly fishing techniques, and continues to regularly contribute to a variety of international fishing publications. He volunteers much of his time speaking at fishing clubs and events, or serving other anglers as an instructor at a variety of fly fishing clinics around the world.

Fernandez has also impacted the boating and fishing industry through consulting with industry leaders such as Hell's Bay Boatworks, Costa sunglasses, and a multitude of fly fishing tackle companies. Chico is a long-serving IGFA Representative, and was a founding member of the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT), where he remains active still.


Dr. John E. Graves

Dr. John Graves is a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) - one of the top institutions on marine research in the world.  Over the course of his career he has authored over 90 peer reviewed papers, many dealing with recreational and commercially important fish species.  Before he worked for VIMS, Graves served as the Senior Scientist for the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. Over the past two decades, Graves has been a source of expert knowledge in the fields of fisheries genetics and has extensive experience in fisheries management and policy-making, which is evident by his 20 year tenure of serving as the chair of the U.S. delegation to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT).   He has also served as a long standing member of the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Billfish Advisory Panel and Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel.


Orri Vigfusson

Orri Vigfusson is the chairman and founder of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) which received the IGFA Conservation Award in 2005. Vigfusson started his conservation venture by buying up commercial salmon quotas from fishermen. His commercial conservation agreements have been made on both sides of the North Atlantic through the work of NASF and its coalition partner organizations. These agreements currently cover 85% of the waters through which the Atlantic salmon roams, they have saved between five and 10 million salmon.

Vigfusson has received the Knight Orders from Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark and The Icelandic Falcon from the President of Iceland. Awards have been bestowed by Time magazine, The Economist, and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In 2007 he was recipient of The Goldman Environmental Award and in 2013 the French Government awarded him a knighthood order.

To learn more about the 110 current members of the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame, please visit the IGFA Hall of Fame  webpage for biographies of previous IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame honorees. To reserve your seats for the 2016 IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, please contact Julia Shafer at 954-924-4222 or [email protected].