Today is the fifth and final day of the 50th annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, a prestigious event that attracts anglers to Kona, Hawaii, from around the world.
The competition is tight, with only 24 points separating the leading team Malibu Marlin Club from second-place Kona Game Fishing Club-Bellhope of Japan.
Day 3 saw the largest fish landed thus far. Malibu Marlin Club angler and team captain Sam Spinello brought in a 567-pound Pacific blue marlin, putting the team into first place.
"This was another very strong, tough fish," said Spinello. "We had the drag on as high as it could go and she still gave us a tremendous fight. The captain and crew did an amazing job with boating this fish. What a day."
The inaugural Great Marlin Race was added as part of the HIBT golden anniversary celebration. Participating teams can purchase a Pacific blue marlin satellite tagging device, which once attached to the fish will track its travels for about six months. The marlin that travels the farthest wins its team one entry for up to six anglers to next year's tournament. So far, three teams have deployed the devices.
The 2010 competition is scheduled for July 31-Aug. 8 and will be held in Kona again.
Team standings and points after Thursday:
1. Malibu Marlin Club, 1367
2. Kona Game Fishing Club-Bellhope, 1343
3. Pajaro Valley Game Fishing Club No. 2, 1250
4. Old South Marlin Club No. 4, 1250
(In the event of a points tie, place standings are determined by the time that the fish is boated.)
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Sam Spinello, far right, with the 567-pound marlin he landed. Credit: HIBT
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