Kilauea volcano is gurgling hot lava into the ocean, but that’s not the only thing heating up the waters around the Big Island of Hawaii. The Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series is about to combine fishing for Blue Marlin with Blues Music when Maestro Taj Mahal joins the competition.
Biggest Fishing Tournament In The World
For about seven straight years, the legendary blues musician combined his two loves – fishing and the blues – by hosting his own tournament in Costa Rica. There, he was joined by other musical legends such as Dicky Betts of the Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks, Jimmy Herring from The Dead and more.
Last year, Taj returned to Hawaii and cut an album called “Live From Kauai” with local boy musician buddies he combines as The Hula Blues Band. Their record went on to win “Best R&B Album” in Hawaii’s prestigious Na Hoku Hanohano Awards.
Seeing that Taj was back hanging out in Hawaii, HMT Series producer Capt. Jody Bright gave him a call and asked what became of his tournament, and if it was no longer happening, why not jump in with us? Taj’s response was a very enthusiastic “Hell yeah!” and he said he couldn’t wait to fish at the “Kona level” again. Taj used to fish with Capt. Peter Hoogs on board “Pamela” back in the 80’s in Kona, but never in a tournament.
Like long lost friends getting back together, everything fell in place (with a lot of help from his wife), and Taj will be in Kona next week, fishing on board “Strong Persuader”, appropriately named after a famous blues song written by his friend Robert Cray. Taj calls it “The Blues Boat” and says he’s been cleaning out his locker, sorting his gear and locating his favorite lures.
Taj will definitely be competing at the “Kona Level” and will have his work cut out for him as he plays against the likes of Jada Holt, who has world records in the Pacific and Atlantic – most notably her catch last year of a 1,305 pound blue at Ascension Island. Jada was Series Champion Angler in 2015 as well.
Two-time HMT Series Champ Angler Steve Spina will be on hand too. Spina recently won the 2016 HIBT in his latest string of accomplishements.
2016 Series Leader at the 7th Inning Stretch is John Cole with 1,600 points and he’s heading all the way back to Kona from Georgia to defend his lead.
So far in the 2016 HMT Series, 164 teams have caught more than 100 marlin.
The fishing has not been steady, and it has been hard work to get on the leader board. As in all sports, when times are challenging, “luck is when opportunity meets preparation” and those who fish each event and make the most of each encounter with a wily marlin are those who score.
Crazy Shirts is the Official Sportswear sponsors of the HMT Series and will be awarding “Champions Jackets” and more at the final event in September, the “It’s a Wrap” tourney.
The Top Skipper will get styled out by Maui Jim Sunglasses with a couple new pairs to insure he has an advantage and can spot the marlin down deep with their PolarizedPlus2® technology.
The HMT Series also supports the marine conservation work of Wild Oceans.
About the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series: The HMT Series began in 1987 with the Big Island Invitational Marlin Tournament – the first event in Hawaii to award cash purse to marlin tagged and released, alive and well, back into the ocean.
In 1988 the Firecracker Open was added and in 1989 the Skins Marlin Derby and Okoe Bay Rendezvous filled out the summer schedule. Before the internet, in the late 80’s through the mid 90’s the Series was profiled in national publications such as “Men’s Journal” and “Esquire Sportsman”, Marlin Magazine and in the Hawaii based publication “Pacific Sports and Entertainment”, among others.
From 1996 through 2010 The HMT Series was the only big game entity with its own home produced national TV coverage. Starting on ESPN 2’s “Athletes in Motion” and shifting to in house, Hawaii based “Pacific Expeditions” coverage of the tournaments aired on OLN, then VERSUS reaching into some 88 Million TV House Holds, transitioning to NBC Sports.
In 2015 The HMT Series generated 229 teams fishing 496 boat-fishing days, catching 249 marlin of which 93.5% were tagged and released. Total purse available in 2015 was just over $1.5 Million. Official website is www.konatournaments.com.