Hawaiian International Billfish tournament underway
The Hawaiian International Billfish tournament began Monday as it has for more than 50 years, with the now legendary phrase: "Start fishing, start fishing, start fishing!"
Taking place through Friday off Kona, the 51st annual "grandfather of all big game fishing tournaments" has 31 teams from around the world -- including five from Australia and Japan, four from New Zealand, U.S. teams from California, Hawaii, Florida and North Carolina plus teams from Canada, Korea, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, and Tahiti -- competing for the prestigious HIBT Governor’s Trophy, awarded to the team scoring the highest number of billfish points.
By the end of Day One, 11 teams had put points on the scoreboard, with 15 catches including three boated fish and 12 fish tagged and released. HIBT teams do not boat Pacific blue marlin weighing less than 300 pounds, instead scoring points for their catch and then tagging and releasing them.
Early in the day, the Korea Game Fish Assn., fishing aboard Northern Lights, had a double hook-up. Not quite ready for the double, the team disqualified the first marlin and concentrated on the second. In just 50 minutes, angler Kim Sung Su had boated a 390-pound Pacific blue marlin, winning his team valuable tournament points. "This is my best personal record catch," said Sung Su. "And it’s only the first day of the HIBT!"
Laguna Niguel Billfish Club rounded out the day by boating a 175-pound yellowfin tuna. Bob Dudley, who has caught large marlin in previous HIBT tournaments, had a surprise when the ahi appeared at the back of the boat. "We did not know we had an ahi. We played it like there was a marlin on the other end of the line," said Dudley. "This ahi was a tough fighting fish! Tomorrow, I want to go catch a marlin."
|Daily Catch (Monday -- Day One)|
|10 Pacific blue marlin tagged and released|
|Two Pacific blue marlin weighed|
|Two shortnose spearfish tagged and released|
|One ahi (yellowfin tuna)|
|Place, Team, Points|
|1 Game Fishing Club of South Australia, 900|
|2 Olympian Dream Fishing Club, 625|
|3 Old South Marlin Club #1, 600|
|4 Team KGFA-Korean Game Fish Assn., 519|
|Place, Captain, Boat Points|
|1 Lance Gelman, Long Ranger, 900|
|2 Kevin Hibbard, JR's Hooker, 625|
|3 Boyd DeCoito, Foxy Lady, 600|
|4 Kevin Nakamaru, Northern Lights, 519|
In the event of point ties, place standings are determined by the time the fish is boated.-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Angler and Olympian Dream Fishing Club team captain Yasuhiko Kagabu, center, poses with the 395-pound Pacific blue marlin he boated. With him is Hawaiian International Billfish tournament’s 2010 Miss Billfish, Sonja Ascino , and JR’s Hooker crew member David Crawford. Credit: Hawaiian International Billfish tournament