This website makes heavy use of google earth plugins to display tracking and other data. This technology may not be supported on mobile phones, pads or tablets.   

HOME ABOUT NEWS ARTICLES RACES TRACKS WINNERS GET INVOLVED

Kona USA 2013

 

The opening day of the 54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in 2013

 

Marlin Parker tags and releases a billfish for the IGMR and Team Lae Game Fishing Club

 
 
 
Photo credit: Carol Lynne

 

The Game Fishing Club of South Australia satellite tagged a 700 lb marlin during the 54th HIBT for the IGMR.

Photo credit: Carol Lynne

 

 

 

Kona, USA 2013 Race Complete

MARCH 2014 -- The final tag in the Kona, USA 2013 IGMR event – that which belonged to Fish 7 and the Lae Game Fishing Club - surfaced on Sunday, March 16, 2014 to finish the race! A total of 6,343 nautical miles (nm) were recorded from blue marlin during the 54th Annual Hawaiian Billfish Tournament, but one fish accounted for 45% of the total distance: Congratulations to sponsors and event winners Marty and Mitchell Firestein of Balboa Angling Club who have also won free entry to the 2014 HIBT which will take place in July of this year! Marty placed the winning tag on the 113 kg (250 lb) fish (Fish 2) caught by his son, Mitchell, aboard Hooked Up. After reaching a full deployment duration of 180 days, their tag surfaced on February 5, 2014. On their data sheet, they note that the fish “swam away nicely” and it sure did – a distance of 2,883 nautical miles (nm), almost reaching the Pitcairn Islands! This is the longest distance recorded from any fish tagged in Kona and the second longest distance recorded in the IGMR.

Coming in second place was Fish 5, a 57 kg (125 lb) blue marlin that swam a total distance of 2,101 nm in 175 days. The fish was tagged by Jody Bright and caught by Kenneth Lahey, fishing from Humdinger. The tag, sponsored by IGFA Representatives Rocky Franich of Pajaro Valley Gamefish Club and Bob and Sally Kurz of Laguna Niguel Billfish Club, surfaced on February 27, 2014 near Tahiti, French Polynesia.

Third place belongs to the largest marlin tagged in the race, Fish 3. This 318 kg (700 lb) marlin swam a point to point distance of 1, 153 nm in just 114 days! The tag, sponsored by Ralph Czabayski of Game Fishing Club of South Australia, was tagged by Captain Marlin Parker and reeled in by Max Patterson, aboard Marlin Magic II. Aboard the same boat one month later on September 14, 2014, Bob O’Dea and Bob Howden of Lae Game Fishing Club sponsored the fourth place tag which Marlin Parker placed on Fish 7, an 82 kg (180 lb) blue caught by Mike Allison. After 181 days, the tag reported that the fish swam a distance of 132 nm. Three days earlier, the tag on Fish 6 surfaced 74 nm from where it was tagged after a full 180 day deployment on the 145 kg (320 lb) marlin tagged by Ihu Nui captain McGrew Rice and caught by Janet B. Martic, earning tag sponsors Bob and Sally Kurz, Bob Dudley, Robert Chavers, Chuck Salinger, Allen McGee, and Laguna Niguel Billfish Club fifth place in the race. These last two tags (on Fish 6 and Fish 7) went full term, yet they popped up relatively close to where they were initially tagged. We are excited to see what the full tracks will look like for these fish, as it will be interesting to see if they travelled extensively or if they exhibited fidelity to a specific area.

Two tags in this race did not report: the tag on Fish 1, sponsored by Keith and Janice Allan and the tag on Fish 4 sponsored by Hidemi Hayashi, Tuero Koshikawa, Yasuhiko Kagabu, Masaharu Matsushita, Katsuhiko Wakabayashi. Although we hope to hear back from every tag we deploy, there are some cases where tags fail to report. Although this only speculation, our partners at Stanford University believe there are a few different reasons this could occur. First, although each tag is painted with anti-fouling paint, biofouling can still become an issue, especially on long deployments in tropical water. Also, if the antenna becomes encrusted with organisms, it can impede the tag’s ability to transmit data.  Also, in very deep oceans basins like the Pacific, where these fish were tagged, mortality of the tagged fish (from sharks or other large predators) could lead to the tag being crushed before it releases itself from the carcass. Fortunately, we have experienced nearly a 95% reporting rate from the tags we use from Wildlife Computers and we look forward to learning more about Pacific blue marlin from the remaining 5 tags. 

We’d like all sponsors, anglers, taggers, captains, and crew members to know how much we appreciate your support of this very important conservation project. We are learning more about how billfish utilize their habitat and the IGMR events from the HIBT specifically, are teaching us how different billfish populations are connected. We’d also like to give a special thanks to IGFA Representatives Bob and Sally Kurz and IGFA Trustee Emeritus Peter Fithian for coordinating yet another great race at the HIBT.


Kona, USA 2013 Race Update

FEBRUARY 2014 -- During the 54th annual HIBT, a total of seven mini PAT tags were placed on blue marlin weighing 50 kg (110 lbs) to 318 kg (700 lbs)! It’s been six months since the tournament, which means that the satellite tags, which are programmed to report after 180 days, are due to surface in the next month.

The first tag due up in the race was placed on Team Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club’s marlin and was expected to surface on February 1, 2014. Unfortunately, we have not heard from this tag and at this point in time, we have to assume that this tag will likely not report.

Although we can only speculate at this time why the tag did not report, there are several reasons this might happen. Although we paint each tag with anti-fouling paint, biofouling can still become an issue – especially on long deployments in tropical water. If the antenna becomes encrusted with organisms, the ability to transmit data may be impeded. Also, in very deep ocean basins like the Pacific, mortality of the tagged fish (from a shark or other large predator) could lead to the tag being crushed before being released from the carcass. Fortunately, the tags we use from Wildlife Computers are generally very reliable and we have experience a nearly 95% reporting rate form the tags deployed.

The second tag due up was placed on a 113 kg (250 lb) blue and not only did the tag reach the deployment duration of 180 days, but the fish swam a remarkable distance of 2,883 nm! The tag surfaced on February 5, 2014, more than 22 degrees south of the equator, almost reaching the Pitcairn Islands. Congratulations to Mitch and Marty Firestein of Team Balboa Angling Club, California USA! So far, their fish is not only leading this race, but it is the longest track ever recorded from Kona, and currently stands as the second longest track recorded in IGMR history!

The fourth tag deployed in the race is due to surface on February 27, 2014 and the remaining three tags in the following weeks. Stay tuned for more updates in the Kona, USA 2013 Race!


Kona, USA 2013 Race Update

DECEMBER 2013 -- The first tag to surface in the 2013 Kona Hawaii IGMR belongs to Team 3: Game Fishing Club of South Australia sponsored by Ralph Czabayski. After 114 days at liberty, the tag surfaced 1,153 nautical miles (nm) directly southeast of where it was deployed! The estimated 318 kg (700 lb) blue marlin represents the second largest marlin to be successfully tagged in the history of the Great Marlin Race. We are patiently awaiting the remaining six tags to surface and we are excited to see just how far these marlin will swim.


Kona, USA 2013 Race Update

DECEMBER 2013 -- On Monday, August 5, 2013, 38 angling teams from around the world gathered just off the Kona Coast for the 54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. This year’s HIBT also marked the fifth year of the Great Marlin Race, which was born there as part of HIBT'S 50th Anniversary celebrations. Now managed by a unique collaboration between Stanford University and the International Game Fish Association, the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) has grown into a program spanning the globe! A total of eight miniPAT satellite tags were sponsored for the 2013 Kona, Hawaii IGMR.

The first tag of the 2013 Kona, Hawaii IGMR was sponsored by Keith and Janice Allan of Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club. The tag was deployed during the first day of the tournament by Ihu Nui captain, McGrew Rice on a large, 91 kg (200 lb) blue marlin caught by Janice Allan.

Four days later, on Friday afternoon, August 9, 2013, the second tag was deployed by sponsors Marty and Mitch Firestein of Balboa Angling Club on a very large, 113 kg (250 lb) blue marlin caught by his son, Mitch Firestein, aboard Hooked Up.  Marty stated on the data sheet that the fish “swam away nicely”!

The third satellite tag was deployed about one week after the close of the tournament, on the morning of August 20, 2013, by Marlin Magic II captain Marlin Parker. Angler Max Patterson reeled in the fish after a 35 minute bout with the blue that was estimated to weigh about 318 kg (700 lb) - the second largest Pacific blue marlin successfully tagged in the fiver year history of the HIBT Great Marlin Race! The sponsor, Ralph Czabayski of Game Fishing Club of South Australia, stated that he was “happy it was tagged by Marlin Parker and even happier that it was a 700 lb blue.” Ralph was the winner of last year’s race, the 2012 Kona, Hawaii IGMR, for a blue marlin that traveled 1,743 nautical miles in 87 days. To date, this distance is also the third longest track recorded in the history of the IGMR!

The fourth satellite tag was generously co-sponsored by Hidemi Hayashi, Tuero Koshikawa, Yashuhiko Kagabu, Masaharu Matsushita, and Katsuhiko Wakabayashi of Hilton Grand Vacations Fishing Club Ohana, Kona Game Fishing Club Kusatsu, Olympian Dream Fishing Club, Kona Game Fishing Club Taiyo, and Japan Game Fish Association. At the end of the month on August 31, 2013, Northern Lights captain, Kevin Nakamaru placed the tag on a 50 kg (110 lb) blue marlin which put up a 10-minute fight with angler Jay Temple.

IGFA representatives Rocky Franich and Bob and Sally Kurz of Pajaro Valley Gamefish Club and Laguna Niguel Billfish Club Team #1 sponsored the fifth satellite tag, deployed on September 5, 2013 by Jody Bright on a 57 kg (125 lb) blue marlin. The fish was caught after a 15 minute fight with angler Kenneth Lahey aboard Humdinger.

The following week, on September 13, 2013, Ihui Nui captain McGrew Rice placed a second tag, the sixth satellite tag of the race, on a massive 145 kg (320 lb) blue after an hour long fight with angler Janet B. Martic. Janet noted on the data sheet that the fish “swam away strongly”. The tag was generously co-sponsored by Bob & Sally Kurz, Bob Dudley, Robert Chavers, Chuck Salinger, and Allen McGee, of Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #1 and Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #2.

Three days later, early in the morning on September 16, 2013, Marlin Magic II captain Marlin Parker tagged another large fish in this year’s IGMR - an 82 kg (180 lb) blue marlin reeled in by Mike Allison after a 15 minute bout. The seventh satellite tag was generously sponsored by Bob O’Dea and Bob Howden of Lae Game Fishing Club.

The eighth satellite tag, sponsored by Tim McBride of Mission Bay Marlin Club has yet to be deployed and therefore will not be eligible for the 2013 Kona, Hawaii IGMR. However, the tag is eligible for the overall race which includes all tags deployed in the 2013-2014 race year. Currently, we are approximately halfway through the race period and are patiently awaiting the news of all seven tags. So far, there have been no reports of early releases (which is good considering all tags in the race were programmed for 180 days of deployment). The seven tags are due to pop-up between February 1, 2014 and March 15, 2014. We cannot wait to see just how far these marlin swim! Good luck to all participants because the race is on!


Kona, USA 2013 Race Start

AUGUST 2013 -- On Monday, August 5, 2013, 38 angling teams from around the world gathered just off the Kona Coast, awaiting the radio call to, “Start fishing, start fishing, start fishing!” in the 54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. This year’s HIBT also marked the fifth year of the Great Marlin Race, which was born there as part of their 50th Anniversary celebrations. Now managed by a unique collaboration among the HIBT tournament, Stanford University and the International Game Fish Association, the IGFA Great Marlin Race (IGMR) has grown into a program spanning the globe.

As the 2013 HIBT IGMR began, seven of the 10 satellite tags had been sponsored or partially sponsored. For this year’s race, the IGMR organizers decided to pilot the use of Wildlife Computers’ new miniPAT pop-up satellite archival tags. Somewhat smaller than their predecessors, these tags offer more sophisticated data handling features in addition to creating less drag in the water.

Stanford University marine biologist Randy Kochevar said, “In bluefin tuna, we’ve found the miniPATs to stay attached longer, giving us more data and better tracks than we got using the older tags. We hope this will also be true with marlin.”

The first day of the tournament was full of action, with more than two dozen marlin tagged with conventional tags and released. The first IGMR miniPAT, sponsored by the Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club #1 from New Zealand, was deployed by Ihu Nui captain McGrew Rice on a 91 kg (200 lb) blue marlin caught by Janice Allan.

It was not until Friday, August 9, 2013 that the second IGMR satellite tag was deployed. Sponsor Marty Firestein of the Balboa Angling Club from California tagged a 113 kg (250 lb) blue marlin caught by his son, Mitch Firestein, aboard Hooked Up.

By the end of the fishing day on Friday, a total of eight miniPATs had been generously sponsored by:

Whangaroa Sport Fishing Club, New Zealand

Balboa Fishing Club, California, USA

Olympia Dream Fishing Club, Japan; Kona Game Fishing Club Tayio, Japan; Hilton Grand Vacations Fishing Club Ohana, Japan; Kona Game Fish Club Kusatu, Japan

Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #1, California, USA; Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #2, California, USA

Mission Bay Marlin Club, California, USA

Game Fishing Club of South Australia, Australia

LAE Fishing Club, Papua New Guinea

Pajaro Valley Gamefish Club, California USA

Like with many previous IGMR races, the remaining six tags will be deployed over the days and weeks following the tournament, as opportunities arise to tag and release marlin. The Mission Bay Marlin Club and the Laguna Niguel Billfish Club #1 continued to fish after the tournament, and we wish them luck in catching and deploying tags on marlin!