Well, we did it. We got our marine event permits from the state, for each individual tourney in the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series. We also received guidance on how to manage the land based side of the events from the Mayor’s office. In addition, they were kind enough to send us the Mayor’s COVID-19 Emergency Rule No. 8 to refer to, which helpfully details protocol and procedures in 14 pages of light reading.
The assistant fire chief even gave us a friendly call, telling us to check with him anytime, if we had any questions. Everyone has been as nice as they could be on this journey, very much so. Lucky we live Hawaii!
This coming Fourth of July weekend, we actually get to operate our first tournament of the season; the Kona Kick Off. The Kick Off usually runs in June, but back in March — once all this virus stuff started unfolding — I didn’t know what to do to keep from canceling events, which is what everyone else was doing. So I reached for my Brunswick bag and out came my handy dandy crystal ball. I dusted it off, shook it and then stood back a safe distance, watching it cough and sputter into action. Once it settled down, it was less than impressive. It appeared flat and dim.
“Wow,” I said. “You look hungover!”
“Aw man. Give a soothsayer a break. I’m not hungover. I’m exhausted. I’m the only scryer in all the crystal balls across Hawaii. The other guys are making too much on unemployment to work. I tell ya, between the Governor and the Hawaii Tourism Authority, I’m plum wore out!”
“Gosh that’s sounds rough! How much sooth can one soothsayer say?”
The ball darkened. “Cute, but don’t waste my time. An airline CEO is on hold. When he gets impatient he bangs me on his desk, so I try to answer quickly.”
“What? Irony? Why?”
“Have you called an airline lately?”
“Hello? You’re talking to a crystal ball. I don’t need no stinking airlines. Get to the point Bub. What can I do you for?”
“Whoa now. Easy, easy. I just have these little ol’ fishing tournaments and I need to know how to reschedule them. When will the quarantine be lifted so visitors can come back to Hawaii?’
The crystal ball flashed red as if atop a firetruck. “Man! People got no imagination during pandemics! It used to be more fun. Questions were all any kine, like ‘Who will be Miss Aloha Hula this year?’ or ‘Is my rooster gonna win on Saturday?’ but now everybody has the exact same question, over and over. Boring!”
I shook my finger at the ball, now glowing and hot “Hey, focus. You might get banged if you don’t hurry!’
“Yeah, OK, you’re right. The only true answer is no one knows yet. I could make something up, but that’s not the union way. My advice is forget June, put the smaller, more local events in July and hope like hell Hawaii is “open” by August because come September, summer is pau.”
The ball gave another flash and puff of smoke, and then went black. The Brunswick logo materialized like a Cheshire Cat. I put it back in the bowling bag and shook my head at how simply he had cut through the fog in my mind.
Afterwards, we moved the Kona Kick Off from June to the Fourth of July weekend, where it will overlap with the very popular World Cup. The Lazy Marlin Hunt returns in the middle of that week, fishing Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, July 7, 8 and 9. The Lure Maker’s Challenge wraps up this trifecta, fishing Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 10, 11 and 12.
For the first time in maybe ever, the soothsayer in my bowling ball foresaw the future in a way that actually ended up being correct. The quarantine will lift August 1, for travelers arriving with a negative COVID-19 test, provided it was taken within seventy two hours of arrival.
We moved the three events of “Million Dollar Week,” which usually run in July, to August. The Firecracker Open fishes Friday and Saturday August 8 and 9. The Kona Throw Down follows Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday August 11, 12 and 13. The 33rd Skins Marlin Derby runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, August 14, 15 and 16.
That trio of competitions generated more than $1.3 million in purse during 2019. With the return of out-of-state anglers in August, we will get a chance to try and recreated that scenario, and that chance was all we were hoping for when we made these changes, and started down the trail of government conversations.
We now have four tourneys in August, which is okay, because August is often the best month of summer. The 34th Big Island Marlin Tournament will close out the run On August 22, 23 and 24. From there, we will take a much needed break, returning with the final event of the Series, the It’s a Wrap Tourney September 18, 19 and 20.
Although we are happy to be on schedule, due to COVID-19 regulations and guidelines, we will be doing things on land a lot differently than in years past. Fishing is why we exist and that’s what we will focus on this year, and be grateful we get to go. Unfortunately, we have to drop the land based social gatherings everyone enjoys, but sometimes you just gotta do what you just gotta do.
And remember, if you find yourself not knowing what to do in these challenging times, don’t forget to check with your handy dandy crystal ball. It may actually give you some good advice.
To enter a tournament, or for more details on the changes we mentioned, log on to:
2020 Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series
Kona Kick Off July 4 and 5
Lazy Marlin Hunt Returns July 7, 8 and 9
Lure Maker’s Challenge July 10, 11 and 12
Firecracker Open Aug. 8 and 9
Kona Throw Down Aug. 11, 12 and 13
Skins Marlin Derby Aug. 14, 15 and 16
Big Island Marlin Aug. 21, 22 and 23
It’s a Wrap Sept. 18, 19 and 20