Categorized | Featured, Fishing, Sports

HIBT 2011 Day 4: Port Vila Game Fishing Club – Vanuatu retains lead

Simon Brown with the tournament's biggest catch so far. Behind that marlin is Capt. Marlin Parker. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

Special to Hawaii 24/7

Two hours into Day Four of the 52nd Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament and Kona’s Captain Marlin Parker heard the reel scream.

Fishing in sector Juliet, just north of Kailua, Bay of Islands Swordfish Club #2 of New Zealand boated a major catch to propel the team into second place on the current leaderboard.

Angler Simon Brown battled the 540-pound Pacific blue marlin on 50-pound test line for just over two hours.

“Simon is an experienced angler and we had a strong fight. We got her to the back of the boat in good time,” Parker said.

“This is my first time here in Kona,” Brown said. “She was a huge fish and this is a huge experience here at HIBT.”

Brown’s catch is the largest fish of the 2011 Tournament to date and will be noted in the HIBT Major Catch category.

Other notable catches Thursday included one by the Pajaro Valley Gamefish Club #1, a team that has competed at HIBT for 50 years. To mark their golden anniversary in Kona, veteran angler Rocky Franich boated his 429-pound Pacific blue marlin on 80lb test line fishing aboard Topshape and captained by Al Gustavson.

Franich’s father was originally invited to fish HIBT 50 years ago.

“I will never forget it, I looked out the window of the plane and wondered if I would ever be back,” a nostalgic Franich said. “Well, I’ve been back ever since.”

This three-time winning HIBT team is ready for more action as the Tournament wraps up its final day of fishing Friday.

Buzz Colton, another HIBT veteran and team captain of Alii Brothers Marlin Hui, boated a 440- pound Pacific blue marlin.

“I’ve been fishing here at the HIBT since 2005. This is my first boated fish – I’ve caught plenty of tags, but this is my first fish boated,” Colton said. “The water was different today, just a bit choppy. Fishing down south paid off.”

Going into Day Four, Port Vila Game Fishing Club of Vanuatu was the team to beat, and both the team and Captain Rob Ellyn delivered.

In just five minutes, angler Andrew Neill was able to tag and release an estimated 150-pound Pacific blue marlin while fishing on 50-pound test line.

Right behind him, team captain Adrien Mourgues tagged another Pacific blue marlin estimated at 125 pounds in just under ten minutes giving this team the top spot heading into tomorrow’s finals.

“The tides continue to play a big part in this year’s tournament,” said HIBT founder Peter Fithian. “Fish are biting later each day and the 2011 winners may well be decided at the last stroke of the clock tomorrow.”

Unloading one of Thursday's three boated marlins. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

DAILY CATCH (THURSDAY)
10 Pacific blue marlin tagged & released
3 Pacific blue marlin boated
3 Short nose spearfish tagged & released

HIBT CUMULATIVE WEEK TOTAL
44 Pacific blue marlin tagged & released
5 Pacific blue marlin weighed
1 Striped marlin tagged & released
15 Short nose spearfish tagged & released
3 Ahi boated
68 TOTAL

TOP 5 TEAM STANDINGS
1. Port Vila Game Fishing Club – 2,000
2. Bay of Islands Swordfish Club #2 – 1,470
3. Hilo Yacht Club – 1,200
4. PKU Sun Fun Club – 1,150
5. Old South Marlin Club #1 – 1,100

TOP CAPTAIN STANDINGS
Rob Ellyn, Lightspeed – 1,600
Marlin Parker, Marlin Magic II – 1,520
Tim Hicks, Last Chance – 1,301

*Note: in the event of point ties, place standings are determined by the time the fish is boated.

Announcer Bob Herkes, Mayor Billy Kenoi and tournament founder Peter Fithian. (Hawaii 24/7 photo by Karin Stanton)

For more information on the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament, including team listings, IGFA world-record rules and a daily video recap of tournament standings, visit: www.hibtfishing.com

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