Anglers come to Kona, Hawaii from all over the world to fish the prestigious Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. The calm Pacific Ocean waters are always a pleasure to fish and the ever-lurking giant blue marlin also makes this event so unique, knowing that the fish of a lifetime is just a heartbeat away. The HIBT has now been going strong for an incredible 57 years, making this one of the longest-running marlin tournaments in the world.
Right from the start, the Malibu Marlin Club team started brilliantly, releasing three blue marlin on 50-pound tackle aboard the 45-foot Viking Silky, skippered by Capt. John Bagwell. Hot on their heels was the Old South Marlin Club International, fishing aboard Northern Lights II skippered by Capt. Kevin Nakamaru with two blue marlin tagged. The Australian team from the Redcliffe Peninsular Game Fishing Club fishing aboard Waiopai boated the first blue marlin for the tournament; the blue weighed 302 pounds and was the heaviest marlin in this mostly tag and release event.
The Malibu Marlin Club team, rotating boats and now fishing aboard the 37-foot Merritt Northern Lights, skippered by Capt. Oskie Rice, took back in the lead when they tagged another blue marlin. The Redcliffe Peninsula GFC Team tagged another blue and, along with the marlin they weighed, gained enough points to edge out the USA Old South Marlin Team by just 2.6 points for second place. The USA Old South team finished third overall. Capt. Oskie Rise won the award as the Champion Charter Boat Captain.