Tony DiGiulian Hits 10,000
Captain, mate and fishing consultant releases his 10,000th billfish.
By FishTrack Staff
Published:April 29, 2016
Capt. Anthony DiGiulian (center) celebrates his 10,000th billfish release. The milestone came while fishing in Key West, Florida, in early April.
Capt. Anthony DiGiulian has spent the last 30 years chasing fish and teaching anglers. In his quest to spread the gospel of fishing, DiGiulian has fished with legendary captains, explored the world's best fishing destinations, educated people on the importance of conservation and spent countless hours helping kids get out on the water.
It has been a career filled with milestones, and he just hit another big one. While fishing on the 70-foot Viking Nimrod out of Key West, Florida, on April 11, with Capt. Randle Enfinger and Capt. Richard Budalich, DiGiulian released a very special sailfish. This sailfish was his 10,000th Billfish caught or released as a captain, mate or angler.
“I guess it’s my competitive nature, but I keep track of all my catches and record pertinent information in a logbook every day,” DiGiulian says. He and his team had caught three sails the day before, and everyone knew they were just a few fish shy of Tony’s big mark.
“We got a bite on the right long kite bait and had the first sailfish on,” DiGiulian says. “When we were fighting that sail, another fish came up and ate a kite bait, so then we had a double on. We actually caught that second fish first, got it up to the boat and let it go. As we got the first fish in close, Randle noticed that there was another fish following it, so we grabbed a spinning rod and threw a threadfin herring at it. That fish immediately ate the threadfin, so now we had a third fish on! We released the fish we caught on the spinning outfit and we still had the original fish on. We finished fighting him and let it go. That fish made us 17-for-18 for the 8-day trip, including 16 in a row.”
The team’s stellar hook-up ratio helped Tony hit the 10,000 mark, which is no easy feat. “There are guys that have 20,000 or 30,000 billfish releases. Guys that fish year round in areas like Guatemala, Panama and Costa Rica,” Tony says. “There are plenty of guys that have done it, but for me 10,000 was more of a personal milestone.”
DiGiulian fishes primarily on the Wish List, a 37-foot Willis, based in south Florida. Through his travels he has released 3,200 of his billfish in the Pacific, but the vast majority came from the Atlantic.
“Obviously in a place like Costa Rica, we’ve caught 600 to 700 in a week at times, but here in south Florida we can still catch 100-plus sailfish pretty easily every year right out front, whether it’s off Miami, Boynton Beach or Lighthouse Point,” DiGiulian says. “I enjoy trolling rigged dead baits a lot, like old-school swimming mullet and mackerel but I also love to kite fish with live baits.”"I've always been someone who learns and can be versatile. I may not be the best at any one discipline, but I try to be very good with a range of techniques." -- Tony DiGiulian STARTING YOUNG
“I started working on my aunt and uncle’s charter boat in Shinnecock, Long Island, when I was 16 years old,” he says. “After spending several summers working with my aunt and uncle, I got onboard a 54-foot Whitticar called the Grand Cru owned by Bob Fairchild.” The boat hired Tony as a mate and headed south to Florida. It was 1984.
DiGiulian has since traveled around the world, fishing with legendary captains and crews such as Rick Defeo, Laurie Wright, Dan Timmons and Eddie Herbert. He’s used his knowledge and experience to help educate fellow anglers as a highly sought-after speaker, and helped develop the sport fishing industry in areas including the Middle East and southern Caribbean.
“I’ve always been someone who learns and can be versatile,” DiGiulian says. “I may not be the best at any one discipline, but I try to be very good with a range of techniques.”
Knowing how to target a range of species has helped Tony teach others how to catch more fish. In 2006 DiGiulian co-founded the IGFA School of Sportfishing. He also became a fishing consultant and traveled to the Mid East in 2009 where he fished the Red Sea.
“The clients, Mohammed Zoheir and Ahmed Shaker, found me through Bouncer Smith in 2008, and were looking for someone to come over for a long period to check out the sportfishing potential of the area, and most importantly try to prove that there are swordfish in the Red Sea,” he says. He proved it, catching the first swordfish ever taken on rod and reel in the Red Sea.
Sportfishing has opened a lot of doors for Tony and he always finds time to give back and work with kids and marine conservation groups. He volunteers his time for IGFA youth programs and especially enjoys helping special needs children experience the joys of fishing.
Recently Tony has befriended a young girl named Madison who is wheelchair bound and suffers from a spinal condition. Not only did Tony make it his personal mission to get Madison out fishing, which he did, he also has helped raise thousands of dollars for her charitable organization. And for all of those who know Tony personally, we think you’ll agree that he gets more joy working with young people like Madison and seeing them smile as they catch a fish then he does catching anything on his own.
For more info about DiGiulian’s consulting services visit saltwaterproconsulting.com.
- 10,000 Career Billfish Releases - Co-Founder of the IGFA School of Sportfishing - Caught first rod-and-reel swordfish in Red Sea - Named Conservation Ambassador by The Billfish Foundation - Taught Sportfishing Courses in South Korea and Saudi Arabia - Big Game Room Committee Member