By 10:00 Thursday morning, Laguna Niguel Billfish Club Team 2 boated another monster marlin at the 49th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in the waters off the famed Kona Coast. Another HIBT moment in history was created when the digital scale displayed 695 pounds for this Pacific blue marlin. No other team in 49 years of HIBT tournament fishing had ever boated two fish over the 500-pound mark during the week-long event.
"History was made here in Kona today," said HIBT founder Peter Fithian. "And we still have another whole day of fishing to go."
Angler and team captain Robert Dudley said, "I had but 30 seconds left on my rotation when she hooked-up. It was a much smarter fish than the 973-pounder I caught earlier this week. She wanted nothing else but to get off that hook, and she worked hard the whole time. We even had to navigate through hazards including other marlin getting in the way."
"This fish was very active, she took the bait and charged straight for the boat. Once we got control of that situation, we were able to follow her around with the angler reeling like crazy," said veteran HIBT Captain Steve Kaiser of the Medusa. "And in just over an hour and twenty minutes, we had the fish boated. The way that fish was acting, I'm glad I had my all pro crew." Captain Kaiser brought the big fish in as soon as possible so they could off load the marlin and get back to fishing.
As Laguna Niguel Billfish Club Team 2 was heading back out, Alii Brothers Marlin Hui called in their hook-up. After nearly a three-hour fight, they boated a 387-pound Pacific blue marlin fishing aboard the Online, captained by Bill Benbow. The skill and patience of the team and crew were tested as the marlin came to the boat tail wrapped on 50-pound test line. Nonetheless, fish lost, team won.
Second place has been quietly held by Hilton Grand Vacations Fishing Club-Japan. While they have not had the heavy hitters, they tagged and released an impressive 10 billfish in four days. This has yielded them valuable points and Friday's final day of fishing will reveal who holds onto the lead.
Teams fishing the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament rotate fishing vessels daily and do not fish with the same boat and captain for more than one day in the five-day fishing marathon.
All in all, 23 fish were caught Thursday and 25 of 26 teams had points on the scoreboard.
The five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament ended Friday, August 1, 2008 - check back for final results.
About the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament
The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii, Hawaii Tourism Authority and sponsored in part by Hawaiian Airlines, Oceanic Time Warner, KWXX Radio and numerous corporate and community donors.
Next year, the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament will be celebrating its 50th annual tournament. To mark the golden anniversary, HIBT is opening up tournament registration to fifty teams. Anglers and teams from around the world are invited to apply early as tournament participation is expected to reach capacity. Log onto www.hibtfishing.com for details.