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The 54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament
August 3-10, 2013

Day 1 Update | Day 2 Update | Day 3 Update | Day 4 Update | Day Five

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament
Day 5 - Final Results

OLD SOUTH MARLIN CLUB EAST COAST 1 WINS 54TH HAWAIIAN INTERNATIONAL BILLFISH TOURNAMENT
SILKY’S JOHN BAGWELLTOP SKIPPER

HIBT 2013 winners

KONA, HAWAII (Final -August 9, 2013)-"Stop fishing, stop fishing, stop fishing" rang out at exactly 4:30 pm for the final time this week and with those words the 54th running of the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament came to a close.

The 2013 HIBT Governor's Trophy for first place went to Old South Marlin Club East Coast 1 (Team #27) in a come from behind victory with a total of 1,488 points. Having scored 600 points on the first day of fishing, this team - who was skunked over the next three days - kept their lines tight and their heads in the game. With several teams in contention, Old South was sitting on the bottom half of the scoreboard as the final morning of fishing got underway. Angler CJ Dugan boated a 588-pound Pacific blue marlin in a fighting time of 54 minutes today and gained additional points for biggest fish of the day and largest fish of the week-long tournament. These bookend points cinched the win for Old South.

In a tight race, second place went to Balboa Angling Club California (Team #9) with 1,200 points and third to Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club (Team #15) of Australia with 1,150 points.

"What a thrill ride this week has been. Several teams were lurking on the upper end of the HIBT leaderboard, yet it was too close to call until the very end of the final day," said HIBT Founder Peter Fithian. "I think that's what makes Kona and HIBT the best fishing venue in the world."

Top Captain
John Bagwell, captain of the 45-foot Silky, won the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament's coveted Henry Chee Award that honors the charter boat captain with the highest number of billfish points scored at HIBT. "Mahalo to the entire Big Island community for extending such warmth and aloha to all the HIBT anglers from around the world who came to Kona in search of big game fish," said Fithian.

Noteworthy

China's three-time Olympic gold medal gymnast Chen Yibing competed at HIBT with Hui Hai Hu Fishing Club (Team #20). HIBT angler Chen Yibing tagged and released two Pacific blue marlin today, with estimated weights of 180 and 175 pounds both on 50-pound test line.

Next year's 55th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is scheduled August 23 through 30, 2014. Anglers and teams are invited to apply early as a full tournament is anticipated. Log onto www.hibtfishing.com for details.

HIBT Final Day

 

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament - Day 4

LAGUNA NIGEL KEEPS ITS HOLD ON HIBT LEAD

TOPSHAPE Marlin

KONA, HAWAII (Day Four - August 8, 2013) - Today’s win went to the fish with seven Pacific blue marlin tagged and released. Laguna Nigel Billfish Club #2 California (Team #5) and Port Vila Sport Fishing Club Vanuatu (Team #14) held on to their first and second place positions through Day Four of the five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Neither of these two teams added to their scores today.

The Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club of Australia (Team #15), fishing aboard Silky, tagged and released two Pacific blue marlin within 30 minutes to propel this team into third place on the HIBT leaderboard.

“With 38 highly competitive teams from around the world scouring the famed waters of the Kona Coast in search of marlin, the win will be determined on Friday’s final day of fishing,” said HIBT Founder Peter Fithian.

In a race that is much too close to call, these are the top three teams in contention with one full day of fishing remaining:

900 points Laguna Nigel Billfish Club #2, California (Team #5)
871 points Port Vila Sport Fishing Club, Vanuatu (Team #14)
850 points Solitary Islands Game Fishing Club, Australia (Team #15)

To maintain balance in the field, HIBT teams fish with a different boat on each day of the tournament. The perpetual HIBT Henry Chee Memorial Award was devised to celebrate the world-class skills of Kona’s captains and crewmembers. Their points are also being tallied over the five days of tournament fishing right along with the anglers. The charter boat upon which the anglers in the tournament have scored the highest number of Billfish points is honored with the Henry Chee Memorial Award.

“Henry Chee was a remarkable captain who among others brought Kona’s legendary fishing grounds to the forefront,” said Fithian. At the close of HIBT Day Four, Lightspeed’s Captain Rob Ellyn holds the lead.

At the end of Day Four, all but 10 HIBT teams have already put points on the scoreboard with the final day of fishing coming up tomorrow.

HIBT day 4

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament - Day 3

A TAIL OF TWO MARLIN...AND ANOTHER ONE ON THE LINE LAGUNA NIGEL HOLDS ON TO LEAD AT HIBT DAY THREE


HIBT Day 3 2013

KONA, HAWAII (Day Three - August 7, 2013) - At a svelte 428 pounds, the Pacific blue marlin weighed in by Port Vila Sport Fishing Club of Vanuatu (Team #14) at today’s Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament was a game changer earning enough points at press time to thrust this team into second place on HIBT’s leaderboard with 871 points.

Though scoreless today, Laguna Nigel Billfish Club #2 California (Team #5) holds its lead with 900 points.

Fishing aboard Kona Seafari in fishing area Juliet (between Keahole Point and Kailua Bay), both the team and the skipper are former HIBT champs. Hailing from the island nation of Vanuatu, located between Fiji and New Caledonia, Port Vila won this iconic tournament in 2011 and Kona’s Captain David Bertuleit was the top scoring charter boat captain in 2009. Angler Murray Parsons boated the fish using 50-lb test line, a smart move in scoreboard strategy since lighter lines earn larger points.

Angler Jim Ramsey boated today’s second, slightly larger Pacific blue marlin in fishing area Tango (between Kealakekua and Hookena) and tipped the scales on Kailua Pier at 457 pounds for veteran HIBT Team #19 the Pajaro Valley Gamefish Club California. This team has also won HIBT, not once, not twice, but three times, in 2003, 2001 and 1997.

But at press time, Papua New Guinea’s Lae Game Fishing Club (Team #11) aboard High Flyer was still fighting a Pacific blue marlin in fishing area Sierra (between Keauhou and Kealakekua).

Another eight Pacific blue marlin were tagged and released today by HIBT teams who added valuable points to their tallies.

“I’m delighted that HIBT is able to showcase all that Kona fishing has to offer - its excellent ocean conditions, perfect weather and a highly skilled fleet – to people from places all around the world,” said HIBT founder Peter Fithian. “The big game fish are out there and our HIBT Chief Judge Albert Threadingham is convinced that the smaller marlin are feasting on the ahi right now. He believes a grander might be on the way.”

The prestigious five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament continues through Friday, August 9, 2013.

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament - Day 2

LAGUNA NIGUEL BILLFISH CLUB #2 - CALIFORNIA
TAGS DAY TWO LEAD AT HIBT

HIBT 2013 Day 2

Kona, Hawaii (Day Two – Tuesday, August 6) - Veteran anglers from Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #2 - California (Team #5) knew they needed to post valuable points on today’s Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) leaderboard to break away from a crowded four-way tie for second place and capture the lead.

Fishing aboard Strong Persuader, angler Chuck Salinger seized his opportunity. “As soon as the marlin hit, I knew this tag and release would be an important one for our team,” said Salinger. It took Salinger just three minutes to tag and release the estimated 150-pound Pacific blue marlin. But was it enough to propel this team into the lead as the second day of the 54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament came to a close?

Game Fishing Club of South Australia (Team #24) held a slim 15-point lead going in to HIBT Day Two and knew the stakes were high. The team managed to tag a short nose spearfish in the final hour of HIBT Day Two fishing to hoist their two-day total to 715 points, dropping them to second place.

That 150-pound Pacific blue marlin tag netted Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #2 (Team 5) 300 points for a solid Day Two lead with 900 cumulative points. Laguna Nigel is a club to be reckoned with having won three past HIBT championships (2008, 1986, 1985).

Singapore’s Le Anglers Club (Team #26) holds third place, just 15 points behind Game Fishing Club of South Australia with 700 points.

“You’ve got to use strategy to win this tournament and a key factor is the HIBT tag and release rule,” said Tournament Director Robbie Engelhard. “Boat a fish under 300 pounds, no HIBT points. Tag a fish under 300 pounds and release it back into the ocean, and you earn valuable HIBT points.” 

HIBT Tournament Founder Peter Fithian explained, “Captains, crews and teams must be able to quickly estimate the weight of the fish, often during a heated battle reeling in the fish. This is where experience and knowledge come into play. Most Kona captains will tell you that estimating the weight of a fish is done very rapidly as the fish nears the back of a boat.”

Many gauge weight by what is called the short measure where the 300-pound threshold is likely if the length of the fish exceeds 99 inches. HIBT teams rely on the extensive knowledge of Kona’s highly experienced fleet of captains and crews to help estimate weight.

Two women anglers have already posted points on the HIBT scoreboard. Bay of Island Swordfish Club (Team #1) angler Sue Woolston, fishing aboard Lightspeed, tagged an estimated 125-pound Pacific blue marlin in just nine minutes. Veteran angler Sally Kurz with Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #1 (Team #4), fishing aboard Rod Bender, boated an ahi.

“The pulse quickens as each day of this five-day tournament passes. Every HIBT angler, every captain and every crew member are calculating the points needed for a win,” said Fithian. “The best thing about Kona’s waters is that you can never be certain what is coming next.”

The prestigious five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament continues through Friday, August 9, 2013.

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament - Day 1
Start Fishing Start Fishing Start Fishing!

HIBT Day 1

GAME FISHING CLUB OF SOUTH AUSTRALIA HOOKS FIRST DAY LEAD AT 54TH ANNUAL HAWAIIAN INTERNATIONAL BILLFISH TOURNAMENT 

FOUR TEAMS TIED FOR SECOND PLACE IN CLOSE CONTEST

Kona, Hawaii (Day One - Monday, August 5) - One hundred twenty seasoned anglers on 38 teams from around the globe were on the starting line as Day One of the 54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) got underway in Kona, Hawaii. As the legendary “Start Fishing Start Fishing Start Fishing” opener rang out across the fleet, six teams from New Zealand, five teams from Japan, four teams each from Australia and China joined teams from New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa and Vanuatu plus 14 U.S. teams from across the country took off across the Pacific Ocean in search of big game fish.

Fishing conditions were excellent and the Beijing Fishing Club (Team #23) was the first to radio in its hook up a mere 16 minutes into the tournament. Eight minutes later, Hilton Grand Vacations Fishing Club Ohana (Team #7) hooked up and so the morning went.

At 9:23 a.m., fishing aboard Maggie Joe, Game Fishing Club of South Australia (Team #24) hooked up and, in an excellent display of fishing skill, just 12 minutes later angler Ralph Czabayski had boated a 386-pound Pacific blue marlin. As the largest catch of the day, the marlin earned the team 615 valuable tournament points and placed them in the lead.

Four teams each posted 600 points in a four-way tie for second place: Laguna Nigel Billfish Club #2 (Team #5), Hilton Grand Vacations Fishing Club Ohana (Team #7), Le Anglers Club (Team #26) and Old South Marlin Club East Coast 1 (Team #27).

The prestigious five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament continues through Friday, August 9, 2013.

Recent HIBT Champion Teams
2012 Old South Marlin Club Team 4, North Carolina
2011 Port Vila Game Fishing Club, Vanuatu
2010 Kona Game Fishing Club – Kusatsu, Japan

Note: To preserve the thrill of big game fishing for future generations, HIBT teams generally do not boat Pacific blue marlin under 300 pounds. Teams are awarded points for their catch and these billfish are tagged and released.

The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The tournament is further supported in part by KWXX Radio and numerous corporate and community donors.

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament July 26, 2014

Kona, Hawaii - This iconic big game fishing tournament built on prestige and strict International Game Fish Association (IGFA) rules for world records starts fishing on August 3rd and continues through August 10, 2013 in Kona, Hawaii. For five days, teams fish the famous waters off the Kona coast aboard some of the finest sport fishing vessels with captains who have built reputations around the world for catching big fish. Prized and powerful Pacific blue marlin are caught or tagged and released along the Kona coast every day. Occasionally, these famous waters produce a grander, a term known as a Pacific blue marlin weighing in at over 1,000 pounds. HIBT is headquartered on Kailua Pier where spectators see plenty of scoreboard action as teams weigh in at the end of the day, putting valuable points on the scoreboard. Kailua Pier is also a great place to watch the Tournament start each morning at 7:30 am as boats line up across Historic Kailua Bay, returning to the pier at 4:30 in the afternoon.

Fishing action in Kona is expected to be hotly contested this summer. HIBT teams are expected from Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Vanuatu and from across the USA. All eyes will be on Old South Marlin Club Team 4 (North Carolina) who captured the 2012 win and the coveted HIBT Governor's Trophy. This team's cumulative total of 3,150 points ended up in the HIBT history books with the highest winning HIBT score since 2008. In fact, the Old South Marlin Club Team 4 score now ranks as the third highest since the tournament began in 1959.

HIBT event headquarters, retail and tournament control will once again be anchored at Courtyard Marriott King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel, located adjacent to Kailua Pier. The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is underwritten by the generosity of the County of Hawaii Department of Research and Development and the Hawaii Tourism Authority. The tournament is further supported in part by KWXX Radio and numerous corporate and community donors.

Primary Contact: Peter Fithian, Founder
email:

Media Contact: Laura Aquino, Current Events
email:

Future HIBT dates:
HIBT July 26, 2014


Issue 94, 2012

"Each year the HIBT invites highly regarded gamefishing magazines to come to the contest and report their reactions to their readers. This very concise report of the week's activities was written by their editor,Tim Simpson. In our opinion this publication is one of the top magazines in its class anywhere in the world."
Peter Fithian Founder


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