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HIBT 2104: Day 1

Miss Billfish Nicolette Noelani Palacol congratulates HIBT Leaders China Sea Wolf Club. (Photo courtesy of HIBT)

Miss Billfish Nicolette Noelani Palacol congratulates HIBT Leaders China Sea Wolf Club. (Photo courtesy of HIBT)

MEDIA RELEASE

The roar of charter boat engines rang out across Kona’s Kailua Bay as Day One of the 55th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) got underway at 7:30 a.m. Monday with its legendary “Start fishing, start fishing, start fishing!”

Just after the noon round-up, fishing aboard the 35-foot Rod Bender, China Sea Wolf Club reported two Pacific blue marlin were tagged and released.

Angler and team captain Shen Wei tagged an estimated 200-pound Pacific blue marlin in just under 30 minutes. Ten minutes later, teammate Ji Xinhua tagged his Pacific blue marlin estimated at 175 pounds, propelling China Sea Wolf Club to the top of the scoreboard.

Four teams from China are making their HIBT debut this year.

Speaking through an interpreter, Wei said, “We are lucky to be here in Kona. In China, we don’t have this kind of fishing, it’s very exciting.”

In all, 33 teams from Australia, China, Japan, Kenya, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, South Africa, Vanuatu and across the United States are competing in this marathon five-day tournament.

Ahi had the anglers and charter boat captains on alert throughout the day. Old South Marlin Club Team #1 (HIBT Team #6) hooked up and after fighting nearly six hours, boated a 170-pound ahi.

On the flip side, angler Bob Hill with Game Fishing Club of South Australia fishing aboard Nasty Habit brought in a whopping 209-pound ahi in just 29 minutes.

Rounding out Monday’s ahi catch, Broome Fishing Club Team Billistic boated a 142.5 pounder and Old South Marlin Club Tarheels boated a 140 pounder.

Given the size of the ahi boated today, tournament directors are confident big marlin are lurking in the calm waters off the Kona Coast.

By the end of Day One, five countries have points on the scoreboard: Australia, China, Kenya, New Zealand and U.S.A.

“As the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament welcomes anglers from around the world, we are reminded how great the fishing is here and how Kona’s reputation is well known around the world,” said Peter Fithian, HIBT founder.

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

The prestigious five-day Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament continues through Friday, Aug. 1.

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 and numerous corporate and community donors.

HIBT Day One

LEADERBOARD POINTS

China Sea Wolf Club 600
Laguna Niguel Billfish Club Team 1 300
Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club Team 1 300
Team Friends of Kenya 300
Old South Marlin Club-Tarheels 300

TOP CAPTAIN STANDINGS POINTS
Rod Bender 600
High Flier 300
Humdinger 300
Kona Seafari 300
Topshape 300

For more tournament information, including daily fishing video recaps, IGFA world-records, rules, and entry information, visit: www.hibtfishing.com

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