Eighteen hours, seventy-two bites and 54 fish later, there was a winner.
Well, actually there were a number of winners, but it took a couple more hours to figure out who won what.
In the end, wahine angler Paulette Pama caught the largest marlin of the tournament — a 491-pound blue. Paulette is part of the regular tournament team on board Capt. Steve Fassbender’s “Teresa”. This was their 10-year anniversary of fishing together, and they celebrated in fine style, as they also won this tournament back then.
Technically, the Kona Kick Off is a “four flags” tournament and the team catching the largest marlin, ahi, ono and maui are the “winners.” However, in big game fishing competitions, it is not always that simple. On top of “biggest,” tournaments commonly offer purse and prize for “most points” and “most points of each day” and so on and so forth.
Gordon Final won the largest ahi division with a 165-pound beauty on Kona Blue and Ben McMurray won the largest ono division with a hefty 42.5 pounder, but the largest percentage of purse went to Blue Hawaii for their total points tally of 858.5. This was scored from a total of three marlin tagged and a 458.5-pound blue weighed. Christ Mowat and Derek Shindler shared the angling duties.
Angler Jason Long returned from a stellar 2014 performance and immediately got back on the money winners list with most points of the day on Day 1, to claim the second highest percentage of the purse. Total available purse at the Kona Kick Off was $120,090.
The Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series continues this Fourth of July weekend with the 28th Firecracker Open, which is always the largest tournament of the series, and organizers are expecting about 60 teams. One day later, the Kona Throw Down fishes for its second year, and is immediately followed on Friday by the Skins Marlin Derby. Total available prizes and purse next week are expected to top $1,000,000.
The July string of tourneys in The Series winds down with the Kona Classic, a fund raiser for the Milolii Hipuu Charter School.
All tournaments are open to the public and anyone can enter, regardless of experience. For tournament schedules, entry forms and a complete catch summary and winners breakdown for each event, log on to konatournaments.com