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Japan's Kona Game Fishing Club-Kusatu wins Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament

August 9, 2010 | 11:27 am
Out of the Blue angler Ted Morikawa hugs a 779-pound Pacific blue marlin, the largest fish boated of the 2010 Hawaiian International Billfish tournament. "Stop fishing, stop fishing, stop fishing," rang out at exactly 4:30 p.m. for the final time, and with those words Friday, the 51st annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament came to a close off Kailua-Kona.

This year’s tournament champion and recipient of the HIBT Governor’s Trophy was Japan's Kona Game Fishing Club-Kusatsu, finishing with 2,129 points. Fishing aboard Kila Kila, captained by long-time Kona skipper Teddy Hoogs, the team earned an additional 300 points on Friday, rounding out a week of fishing consistently and putting points on the scoreboard daily. By 8:30 a.m., angler Hiroyuki Murakami had tagged an estimated 200-pound Pacific blue marlin. 

But the story of the day, and the tournament, went to the team Out Of The Blue, from Waianae, Oahu. Fishing aboard the Miss Mojo, captained by Tio Kearney, angler Ted Morikawa boated a whopping 779-pound Pacific blue marlin on Friday, earning his team second place in this year’s competition. "I’ve been fishing in the HIBT for three years, and I guess you could say three’s a charm," Morikawa said. "Captain Kearney encouraged us to fish on live bait. We set up the bait, trolled for a bit and bingo!" With the largest fish caught all week, Out Of The Blue finished with 1,479 points. 

Boyd DeCoito, captain of the 46-foot Foxy Lady, won the tournament’s coveted Henry Chee Award, which goes to the charter boat captain on whose vessel the most number of billfish points have been scored.

"I have been fishing HIBT since I was about 12 years old," DeCoito said. "So you could say I grew up with this tournament. This week I knew I wanted to fish south in an area called Uniform. It performed for us all week long. We had great teams fishing with us who relied on our experience and knowledge."

"Mahalo to the entire Big Island community for extending such warmth, and aloha to the international fishing community this week," said tournament founder Peter Fithian. "Twenty-eight teams out of 31 scored points, and we are happy about that. It was certainly another great tournament."

Next year’s event is scheduled for July 24 to July 30, with fishing days from July 25 to July 29.

Daily Catch (Friday -- Day Five, final)
Eight Pacific blue marlin tagged and released
One Pacific blue marlin weighed
Two Short nose spearfish tagged and released
HIBT Week Total
38 Pacific blue marlin tagged and released
Eight Pacific blue marlin weighed
Three striped marlin tagged and released
13 shortnose spearfish tagged and released
One sailfish
Two ahi (yellowfin tuna) boated
Final Team Standings
Place, Team, Points
1 Kona Game Fishing Club-Kusatsu, Japan, 2,129
2 Out Of The Blue Fishing Club, Hawaii, 1,479
3 Laguna Niguel Billfish Club No. 2, California, 1,300
4 Olympian Dream Fishing Club, Japan, 1,298
5 Hilton Grand Vacations Fishing Club, Japan, 1,258
6 Game Fishing Club of South Australia, 1,100
7 Bay of Islands Swordfish Club No. 1, New Zealand, 989
8 Aussie Invaders, Australia, 950
9 Malibu Marlin Club, California, 890
10 Team KGFA-Korean Game Fishing Assn., 820
Captain Standings
Place, Captain, Boat, Points
1 Boyd DeCoito, Foxy Lady, 1,700
2 Tio Kearney, Miss Mojo, 1,629
3 Guy Terwilliger, Malolo, 1,489
4 Matt LoSasso, Last Chance, 1,429
5 Mike DeRego, Maggie Joe, 1,050
6 Jason Holtz, Marlin Magic, 1,008
7 Lance Gelman, Long Ranger, 1,000
8 Chuck Wilson, Fire Hatt, 990
9 Kevin Hibbard, JR’s Hooker, 927
10 Kevin Nakamaru, Northern Lights, 920

-- Kelly Burgess
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Photo: Out of the Blue angler Ted Morikawa hugs a 779-pound Pacific blue marlin, the largest fish boated in the 2010 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Credit: HIBT