The Billfish Foundation named Capt. Kelvin “Red” Bailey, Capt. Ernie Foster and Bonnie Powell as the 2016 winners of its Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award. Named for the late John Rybovich, a pioneer in billfish conservation, the award is TBF’s highest honor.
Capt. Red Bailey, a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, began his sport-fishing career when Capt. Tommy Gifford offered him a mate’s job at the age of 19. Fifty-two years later, Bailey remains a promoter for the sport in the Caribbean and continues to encourage tag-and-release efforts as well as the use of single-hook rigs on lures.
Capt. Ernie Foster of Hatteras, North Carolina, grew up on boats fishing in the Albatross fleet, his family’s charter business. His father, Capt. Ernal Foster, launched charter fishing in the region in 1937, and Foster continues the family tradition today, running Albatross III and managing the entire charter fleet. Active in fisheries-management decisions, he sees his region as a true fishing community and knows how outcomes impact those who are tied to the different fisheries.
Bonnie Powell of Brandon, Florida, began developing her fishing skills at a young age; over the years, she earned two light-tackle world records. An active member of the IWFA, Powell served as its president from 1991 to 1993. The IWFA presented her with its Ann Kunkle Memorial Sportsmanship award in 1999 and inducted her into the organization’s Hall of Fame in 2000. TBF will present the awards during their annual gala on November 4, 2016, in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida.