After three days of tournament fishing, the scoreboard is heating up at the 60th annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. The 3-angler team from New Caledonia boated a 429-pound Pacific blue marlin and also tagged and released an estimated 125-pound Pacific blue marlin but it wasn’t enough to catch USA’s hot Laguna Niguel Billfish Club-Firestein.
Laguna Niguel Billfish Club-Firestein continues to lead the pack with 1,500 points after angler Mitchel Firestein, fishing aboard the 43-foot Top Shape, tagged and released a Pacific blue marlin estimated at 140-pounds. This team also boated a yellowfin tuna (ahi) that tipped the scales at 129.9-pounds.
Catch of the Day
Angler and team captain Alain Destours with New Caledonia’s Cagous CNC-Espadon was hooked up in the afternoon and boated the tournament’s first Pacific blue marlin. Fishing aboard the 47-foot Northern Lights, Destours also tagged and released a Pacific blue marlin just 30 minutes after the start of Day Three.
Wednesday’s tournament action keeps USA’s Laguna Niguel Billfish Club-Firestein at the top of the HIBT leaderboard with 1,500 points, followed by Japan’s Olympian Dream Fishing Club with 1,150 points and Kona Gamefish Club –Blue Fin with 1,000 points. With today’s first boated Pacific blue marlin, New Caledonia’s Cagous CNC-Espadon sits in the number four spot on the leaderboard with 974 points.
The third day of tournament fishing action netted one boated 429.6-pound Pacific blue marlin, 7 spearfish, a stripped marlin and 17 other Pacific blue marlin were tagged and released. Fortunately for sashimi lovers, there were two ahi weighed in at the Kailua Pier.
With two days of Kona Coast tournament fishing left and lots of fish in the sea, anglers are hoping to land a big marlin to propel their team to victory and capture the prestigious Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Governor’s Trophy. The iconic five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament continues through Friday, August 2, 2019.
The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament was founded 60 years ago when a small group of local anglers including legendary Kona fisherman Henry Chee assembled in Peter Fithian’s Kona Inn office to discuss launching a world-class fishing tournament. Fithian was Kona Inn’s General Manager at the time and had arrived in Kona a few years earlier fresh from managing the Augusta National Golf Club. The HIBT was formed in the same year Hawaii gained statehood and its iconic status has evolved throughout the fishing world.
Note: To preserve the thrill of big game fishing for future generations, HIBT teams do not receive points for any Pacific blue marlin under 300-pounds that are boated. Teams are awarded points for these billfish that are tagged and released.
For more information on the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, IGFA world-record rules and a look at last year’s tournament winners, log onto www.hibtfishing.com.
The Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is supported by the generosity of the Hawaii Tourism and community donors who contribute time and resources.
HIBT Day Three
TEAM STANDINGS POINTS (inc bonus)
Laguna Niguel Billfish Club-Firestein, USA 1500
Olympian Dream Fishing Club, Japan 1150
Kona Gamefish Club-Blue Fin, Japan 1000
Cagous CNC Espadon, New Caledonia 974
Houston Big Game Fishing Club-Team Filo Pamela Basco 950
Ohana Marlin Club, Japan 950
Lizard Island Game Fish Club, Australia 900
BOAT STANDINGS CAPTAIN POINTS (inc bonus)
Second Offense Kevin Hibbard 1500
Night Runner Jim Wigzell 1100
Northern Lights II Kevin Nakamaru 974
EZ Pickens Chuck Wigzell 950
JR’s Hooker Scott Fuller 950
Anxious Neal Isaacs 900