Bring on the 2010 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT) !!

This is Jon Schwartz welcoming you to the official blog of the 2010 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament! The HIBT is one of the oldest, grandest, and most prestigious fishing tournaments in the world. Anglers from all corners of the globe gather on Hawaii's fabled Kona Coast, the "Land of the Giants," to fish for Pacific Blue Marlin that can grow to 2000 pounds. These are the fish of legend, and Kona is the world's ultimate blue marlin battleground.
Captain Marlin Parker, one of the world's top captains and a big game fishing legend who has landed blue marlin over 1400 pounds, fought one in Kona that he estimated well over 1600 pounds for over 23 hours.  I've seen experienced anglers put to the limits of their endurance after 3 and 4 hour fights (see below pic), so I can't imagine what it was like for 23!
Indeed, the potential for hooking massive fish in azure blue, calm waters, sometimes within a mile of shore, is what attracts such an international, faithful contingent of contestants.
There's no guarantee that you'll hook a huge fish, but as soon as you motor offshore and reach deep blue water (which can be a mere several hundred yards from shore!) a monster can strike at any time. Some of the world's best captains, including Parker, Guy Terwilliger, and Gene Vanderhoek, call Kona home, and they've all learned the hard way that they need to be prepared for "Godzilla" every time they leave the harbor.

Thousand pound marlin- known as "granders"- have been landed in almost every month of the year in Kona.
To that end they only use the heaviest tackle, lest they be caught, as Vanderhoek puts it, "with their pants down." In fact, I interviewed Marlin Parker about the 23 hour marathon fight, and he told me that when dawn broke the next morning, he dove in to see if the heavy leader line that was attached to the fish was in danger of breaking. I've dove in with a few marlin myself (for photos like this one below), but nothing nearly as large, so I was curious about his experience with such a leviathan.
"What was the fish doing 18 hours into the fight when you dove in?" I asked.  He replied with a grin, "Pretty much anything it wanted !" What an understatement! I guess it was like putting a lasso on Kong Kong and asking if it cramped his style.
Big game sportfishing finds many of it's roots in Hawaii, and if you want to read about the history of sportfishing and the birth of the HIBT, check out the article I wrote about it here: HIBT: Fishing for Giant Marlin in Kona, Hawaii.  One of the tournament's founders, Peter Fithian, still presides over the HIBT. This will be his 51st year at the tournament's helm , and I look forward to meeting up with him and "talking story", as they say in Hawaii.

Check in in a few hours; I'll be adding a lot of content about last year's HIBT, explaining the significance of the tournament, what it's like for the anglers, what type of equipment they use, the type of fish they hook (blue marlin are the targeted species but there's plenty of other fish that they encounter), how they fight them, how they release most of them and why they keep a few, and what the local scene is like in Kona during the HIBT.
Once I arrive in Kona on Friday, I'll be your on the ground photojournalist, uploading exciting content onto this blog, Jon Schwartz's HIBT Fishing Blog on a daily basis. I'll be in the press boat every day chasing after the boats that are hooked up to fish in hopes of witnessing wild big game fishing action and landing "the shot". After the day is done I'll sit down at my laptop with a plate full of wings and a club soda and enter the day's juiciest tidbits for your reading and viewing pleasure. Don't forget, all along the way you can also catch detailed information about the tournament at the Offical HIBT Website
Here's a shot I got from last year's HIBT:

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