60th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Begins

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Father and son team with their four-pack: (L–R) Mitchel Fierstein; Miss Billfish Michelle Ozawa; Martin Firestein. PC: HIBT

Day One of the 60th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) got underway Monday morning, July 29, 2019, with near-perfect Kona weather conditions.

Forty-one teams comprised of many of the world’s most competitive big game anglers boarded Kona’s impressive sport fishing fleet and headed to the start line across Kailua Bay.

At precisely 8 a.m., following a traditional Hawaiian blessing by Kahu Danny Akaka, HIBT tournament control radioed, “Start fishing, start fishing, start fishing,” signaling the teams to head out for five consecutive days of Kona fishing.

Anglers from Africa, Australia, Fiji, Japan, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Palau and the USA began a five-day fishing marathon in Kona’s famous waters.


Early Morning Action

By the mid-morning radio round-up, 11 teams reported Pacific blue marlin and spearfish tagged and released. New to the HIBT team roster, Houston Big Game Fishing Club made its debut in the tournament with a splash. Angler and team captain Pamela Bascoput the first tag on the scoreboard just 30 minutes after the tournament start. This three-person team fishing aboard the 46-foot Foxy Lady reported its first tagged Pacific blue marlin and the wahine angler successfully tagged the estimated 130 pounder in just 10 minutes. By 10 a.m., nine teams put valuable points on the scoreboard.

Laguna Niguel Billfish Club-Firestein Leads After Day One

As fishing continued through day one, it was the father and son team who landed on top of the leader board with 1,200 points after tagging and releasing four Pacific blue marlin. Fishing aboard the 43-foot Second Offense, angler, team captain and father Martin Firestein tagged and released the first estimated 150-pound Pacific blue marlin in an impressive 7 minutes. Just before the noon round-up, angler Mitchel Firestein scored this team’s second tag and release with a Pacific blue marlin estimated at 150 pounds. Martin Firestein brought in the third tag and release with a Pacific blue marlin estimated at 175 pounds and rounding out the 4-pack was angler Mitchel Firestein with the fourth tag and release Pacific blue marlin estimated at 200 pounds. An interesting note, this father-son team also deployed a satellite tag, which after 240 days will bounce to the surface, and provide much need scientific information including migration patterns.


“This is our ninth time here, fishing together at the HIBT. Kona is the best place to fish and one of our favorites,” said angler Mitchel Firestein. “I’ve been fishing with my dad since I was about two and thirty four years later, we are still going fishing all over the world.”

As Day One of the 60th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament wrapped up, 27 Pacific blue marlin and short-nosed spearfish were tagged and released putting 24 teams on the scoreboard.

The prestigious 60th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament continues through Friday, Aug. 2.

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 tournament information, including IGFA world-records, rules and entry information, visit

HIBT Day One


Laguna Niguel Billfish Club-Firestein 1200
Houston Big Game Fishing Club-Team Filo Pamela Basco 700
Lizard Island Game Fish Club 600
Palau National Marine Sanctuary 550
Hawke’s Bay Game Fishing Club-The Odd Fellows 400


Second Offense Kevin Hibbard 1200
Foxy Lady Boyd DeCoito 700
Anxious Neal Isaacs 600
Night Runner Jim Wigzell 550
Maverick Trevor Child 500


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