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How is Guatemala like Africa ?
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I realize that this is not an African hunting topic but I just wanted to share some experiences and obnservations I had while in Guatemala last week …the fishing was spectacular …we raised over 90 sails into the “spread” in three days of fishing , we were fishing mainly on fly and caught well over 30 fish , only two on conventional tackle , a few on spinning tackle and the rest on fly …
Ha – the best part was that it was just a short flight from the states !

I found it very interesting how many parallels there are between Brad Philipps and his mates to a PH and his trackers , As PHs we owe a vast amount of our success to our trackers and watching brad work with his two mates Kennedy and Johnny it was a similar relationship.

That was not the only parallel , …the other only too familiar , in that Brad and his boat bring jobs and money into a community that needs it very much , the emphasis on catch and release is huge and the value that they give to the sailfish is enormous ..

Look through the next few paragraphs , truly I could be writing about a hunter visiting an area in Africa !!

As we left the marina what struck me was the small number of boats moored there, the harbor was an industrial harbor the sportfishers taking minimal space , yet it was these sportfishers that were the conduit for Guatemala’s equivalent of “Hunters dollars” indeed a day on board Decisive is not cheap , but when you look at the profound effect that that money has on the economy its incredible …

Included in our daily rate was accommodations at the nearby gated community, where Brad has a small intimate lodge, private and with incredible attention to detail the crystal clear swimming pool , excellent food, attentive friendly staff and comfortable surroundings were the perfect accent to some of the best fishing in the world ..

So lets take a look at where that money actually ends up
The boat itself (read here landcruiserif we were hunting Africa )
The decisive has a crew of five , brad himself as the captain , the two mates , a washdown boy and his assistant – all feeding their families directly from their employment

Stemming from the requirements of the fishermen and fishing fleet –
Bait fishermen , locals who catch and prepare thousands of baits for each boat at the start of each season, which is then stored and defrosted as needed during the season - again people directly employed by the industryIce is a crucial element – made and transported locally every day to the dockMechanics and maintenance – several workshops make the vast majority of their living maintaining the fishing fleet.Fuel, oil and parts and the duties on these, that go back into the local economy.The dock and marina itself employs several security and service personelAll food and drinks are bought locally, all of which are catered in top quality on board.
- in the safari world this is the backup from the office ladies to the resupply folks …
- The lodge
Brads lodge employs several folks full time and then there are the service providers such as maintenance and gardening crews
Food and drinks are all scourced and prepared locally
Brads although the very best , is one of 4 lodges in the area relying 100% on gamefishermen for their living ..

Trickle down
Lets not forget that those coming to fish, fly into Guatemala, paying airfares, use driver services to get to the Pacific Coast a scenic 1hr30minutes from the international airport in Guatemala City. Many anglers choose to stay on a night or two in the beautiful ‘Old City’ of Antigua at which Brad hosts his anglers in a wonderful Botique Hotel run by his goergeous wife Cindy. They visit local sights, eat out and spend more money. The Attraction of this spectacular fishery is just great economics, there is no one individual getting rich off these fish, but instead an incredible revenue stream that is spread far and wide, and from which so many benefit.

Take into consideration that top boats fish up to 180 days a year in this location and collectively the fleet probably fishes 2000 days a year at an average of $3500 per boat per day with lodging and food included, that’s a conservative U$7 million, without the extra’s, pumping into this local economy .

The last parallel is a far more sinister one , but one that’s just as real ..
Unfortunately however as in any third world country where there is poverty anything that has food value is at risk. With increasing populations and tough world economies commercial meat fishermen see the opportunity and are on the increase – much like the poaching across Africa , it’s the stakeholders who have the most to lose but the visiting hunters or Sportfishermen who have the most to give….what they can give as demonstrated above is GIANT value to the fish that they pursue …another parallel is that much like any kind of poaching its tough to police and even tougher to stop….the very best way is to convince the local stakeholders the far greater value a fish has as a Sportfishermans trophy than a one time meal.
Anyway , just some interesting parallels

Here are some pics to enjoy

The decisive coming in at the end of the day !

"may the wind stay true for us"
Ivan Carter

Become a raindrop for conservation
Posts: 1200 | Location: Africa/Texas/Bahamas | Registered: 04 March 2005Reply With Quote
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AWESOME Ivan...definitely something I hope to experience some day in my travels/adventures!

Right on brother and thanks for posting!!!
Posts: 3430 | Registered: 24 February 2007Reply With Quote
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Ivan, the photography is just stunning.

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Posts: 1143 | Location: Chicago, IL | Registered: 02 May 2008Reply With Quote
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Outstanding photos!

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Posts: 4754 | Location: Story, WY / San Carlos, Sonora, MX | Registered: 29 May 2002Reply With Quote
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Beautiful pix!!!!!!!!!!


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Posts: 11977 | Location: LAS VEGAS, NV USA | Registered: 04 August 2002Reply With Quote
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Thank you, Ivan. Interesting perspective and very good photos.


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Posts: 953 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 12 June 2009Reply With Quote
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I've been down to Guatemala three time chasing sails. The fishing is incredible. On our first trip, we release 84 sailfish in three days of fishing. It is a lot of fun!!!

Go Duke!!
Posts: 1162 | Location: Texas | Registered: 25 January 2009Reply With Quote
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What camera are you using? Spectacular action photos.
I hear what you are saying about competition for the resource from "meat" fisherman, but at least the Chinese haven't decided to buy as many billfish bills as they can lay their hands on. Yet.
Posts: 1911 | Location: South Dakota | Registered: 22 August 2004Reply With Quote
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Wow - awesome photos Ivan - looks like a great time!!!

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Posts: 4456 | Location: Australia | Registered: 23 January 2003Reply With Quote
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What camera are you using? Spectacular action photos.

some of them i took with my leica VLUX 4 some were taken by brad with his canon eos with a zoom lens ...

"may the wind stay true for us"
Ivan Carter

Become a raindrop for conservation
Posts: 1200 | Location: Africa/Texas/Bahamas | Registered: 04 March 2005Reply With Quote
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