The Marlin January Photo Contest: Congratulations to the Winners

Celebrating the passion through photography

With more than 3,000 people from around the world casting their votes in two categories—amateur and professional—congratulations go to the two winners of the Marlin Photo Contest for January 2024.

A marlin breaking the surface of the ocean.
Adair Bates’ feisty blue marlin won as the top amateur image. Courtesy Adair Bates

Winning in the highly competitive amateur division was 19-year-old Adair Bates from Corpus Christi, Texas. A student at Texas A&M University, Bates says she grew up outdoors and loves hunting and fishing. Along the way, she got into photography as a hobby in high school and now also enjoys capturing the action offshore and in the woods. Her image was taken at the Perdido oil rig off Texas while fishing on the 64-foot Viking Suzy Q, home-ported in Port Aransas. “It was the last trip on that boat before she was sold, and it was a great way to end it,” she says. “We spent the day live-baiting for blue marlin, and the angler on that fish was new to offshore fishing—it was his first billfish ever.” She used a Canon 5D Mark II with a 100-400mm lens.

Image of a sport-fishing boat on the water with an angler in the cockpit.
Oscar Gallegos used a drone to snap this image of a striped marlin off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Courtesy Oscar Gallegos

Mexico’s Oscar Gallegos won in the professional division, thanks to a very cool angle of a striped marlin he captured using a drone while fishing on Bill Collector 2. Gallegos, a professional videographer for the Pisces charter fleet in Cabo San Lucas, says, “I found out Marlin was having a photo contest and told my friend Billy Howell about it, just daydreaming about getting a great photo with the drone that would maybe win. He said he had a pink lure that would do the work for us, and sure enough, we started fishing at a spot called La Brecha, about 15 miles out of Cabo—within a minute of putting that lure in the water, it got hit.” Gallegos says the fish jumped so many times that he was able to shoot video and
photos. “I clicked the shutter when I first saw the bill, and I knew it was the one without even looking at it. Pretty amazing.”

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Both photographers will receive Marlin gift packages and subscriptions, and will also be eligible to be on the cover.

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