Let's GO Fishing in Kona Hawaii aboard the Anxious

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Conservation and information are extremely important to the sportfishing industry. The ANXIOUS FISHING TEAM supports tag and release, depending on the condition of the fish.

"Anxious" Wins Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship

Each year, in late March, the IGFA holds a four-day big game tag and release tournament off the Kona coast, for the winners of IGFA tournaments around the

"We were hoping that the monster blue marlin that frequent the Kona coast did not show up this particular day."

world. Every team that has won an IGFA sanctioned fishing tournament in the past year is invited to compete. Thirty-four teams accepted the challenge this year, with each team fishing on a different Kona charter boat each day. 30, 50 and 80 pound class tackle is allowed, the lighter the tackle used, the more points awarded for a successful tagged and released billfish.

Monday, day one: The "Anxious" had drawn the Torneio de Pesca Marlin Azul de Guarapari team, Brazil's national champions. Our team boarded the "Anxious" around 7:30 am for the 8:00 am shotgun start. The plan was to use 30 pound-class tackle in order to accumulate the maximum amount of points allowed, if we successfully tagged and released a billfish. We were hoping that the monster blue marlin that frequent the Kona coast did not show up this particular day. Spearfish, striped marlin and small blue marlin were our target for the day.

At precisely 8:00 am, tournament control radioed the fleet to start fishing. 34 sportfishing battlewagons roared off for a five minute run to the deep, calm waters off the Kona coast. 45 minutes into the tournament, the Ixtapa Sailfish team from Mexico, fishing on the "Humdinger", reported the first hookup of the tournament and eight minutes later reported tagging and releasing an estimated 80 pound blue marlin caught on 30 pound tackle (the perfect fish for this tournament), good for 450 points.

"Before the afternoon was over we had tagged three spearfish in the 50 pound range, all on 30 pound line."

The next couple of hours were slow with only a couple of hookups being reported and nothing tagged. Around noon the "Anxious" got its first opportunity, as the short outrigger snapped down and an 80 pound striped marlin put on a great show jumping many times for us on 30 pound tackle. Our Brazilian angler did a great job and six minutes later we tagged and released the striped marlin and put 200 points on the board.

Another small blue was tagged, along with three or four spearfish; however, the "Anxious" and our Brazilian team were just getting started.

Before the afternoon was over we had tagged three spearfish in the 50 pound range, all on 30 pound line. Along with the striped marlin we had tagged earlier, the "Anxious" and the Brazilian team had totaled 650 points, good for a first place tie at the end of the day.

Tuesday, day two: The "Anxious" was host to the Nova Scotia International Tuna Tournament winners. Once again we began the day with the 8:00 am shotgun start. We headed back to our hotspot from the day before with great expectations; however, this was not our day. We worked the area hard, but at the end of the day we had no fish, not even a strike. The good news was that we were still tied for first place, as none of the other first day leaders reported any points.

Wednesday, lay day.

tag and release championsThursday, day three: Our team was the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament champions from Japan and were in second place behind the Brazilian team we had from day one. The action began early for the "Anxious". 45 minutes after start fishing we hooked up and six minutes later, we tagged and released a 50 pound spearfish, putting the Hawaiian Billfish champions in the lead. The lead lasted for only about 15 minutes, as the Brazilian team also reported releasing a spearfish to jump back in the lead. The Brazilian team extended their lead 30 minutes later, as they reported releasing another spearfish. However, the "Anxious" was not done, as the Hawaiian International champions released their second spearfish of the day to pull within 50 points of the lead. The day ended with the "Anxious" leading the boat division by 150 points.

Friday, day four: The New Orleans Invitational Billfish Tournament champions was our team for the final day. They were in 12th place and needed two marlin to catch the leaders. Mid morning we had our first strike, as the short outrigger snapped

Single Hook Success!
by Captain Neal Isaacs
    The "Anxious" has been successful in the past, catching small billfish, using small, straight-running lures with a single 7/0 or 8/0 open hook positioned in the very back of the skirt with beads as spacers.
    This technique worked well (plus a little luck), as we tagged eight billfish out of nine strikes to win the IGFA championship.

down and a nice striped marlin was jumping frantically behind the "Anxious" trying to shake the hook. Halfway to the boat, the marlin was successful and did shake the hook and swam away. That fish could have given the "Anxious" a 350 point lead, but it was not to be. Both the "Humdinger" and the "Rod Bender" had reported tagging fish earlier in the day and were within 100 points of our lead. Fortunately Lady Luck was still with us, as our team tagged and released a 50 pound spearfish, giving us a 200 point lead with about three hours of fishing left in the tournament. An hour later our short outrigger snapped free again and we were fortunate to tag and release about a 70 pound striped marlin, giving us a 450 point lead. These two tagged fish also moved the New Orleans team into 5th place, needing one more fish to move into contention for the lead. Unfortunately this did not happen. In most places a 450 point lead would be safe, but not in Kona, as there are many very good charter boat captains and with the marlin population off the Kona coast no lead is safe. However, this was to be our tournament, as none of the leading boats were able to tag any more fish. As I said earlier, Lady Luck was on our side, we had nine strikes, tagged and released eight billfish.

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