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2012 HIBT Under Way

HIBT underwayAn international field of anglers composed of multiple teams from the USA, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, South Africa and Vanuatu as well as new Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) entrants from Portugal and Russia, will compete in the iconic 53rd annual tournament which kicks off August 13th.

Captains and crews of the 40 selected boats competing in one of the oldest tournaments on the planet gathered at the Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel on Friday and were welcomed by Peter Fithian, HIBT Founder and his tournament staff, where rules and procedures were reviewed.

“Each year, the Big Island of Hawai’i extends a warm welcome to the participants and their families,” Fithian said. “HIBT appreciates their more than a century of heartfelt support. We are proud of our time-tested event that provides anglers from many nations to participate, sharing in the excitement of pursuing one of the largest fish in the ocean — blue marlin.”

The Great Marlin Race, sponsored by Stanford University and International Game Fish Association, was described to the captains and crews by Bob Kurz.

To become part of the Great Marlin Race, teams competing in the HIBT may sponsor a pop-up satellite archival tag. The tags are programmed to pop off after 120 days and float to the surface, transmitting data to the lab via the Argos satellite system. The fish that travels the farthest is declared the winner — and the team that tagged it receives free admission to the following year’s tournament.

The top three for 2011:

1. Marlin Magic ll, Capt. Marlin Parker, 2,188 nautical miles

2. Ihu Nui, Capt. McGrew Rice, 1,782 nautical miles

3. Strong Persuader, Capt. Guy Terwilliger, 1,053 nautical miles

Teams from the four corners of the world still consider this iconic recreational angling event worth all the inconveniences and obstacles that exist for travelers in today’s world. When asked, all the participants seem to agree. This is one of the most important sportfishing tournaments left that remains unchanged. It allows sport-fishers to compete on a level playing field which just happens to be one of the most prolific bodies of water found anywhere in the United States.

For more information visit www.hibtfishing.com.

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That Baja Guy-Gary Graham, the BD Outdoors Baja Editor, has more than five decades fishing experience off of Southern California and the Baja Peninsula. From light tackle and fly up to offshore marlin fishing, Gary has experienced all facets of this fishery. He's set several fly-fishing world records and in his first year as a member of the Tuna Club of Avalon, he received more angling awards than any other first-year member in the club's 109-year history. He's been involved with many California angling clubs and is the Baja California Representative for the International Game Fish Association. 
Gary's a conservationist as well as a writer and photographer. In addition to two books on saltwater fly-fishing, hundreds of his articles and photographs have appeared in publications around the world. Graham has devoted his life to finding new fisheries and developing new techniques — all of which he shares through his guiding, speaking, photography and writing.