Honolulu Star Bulletin (08/05/00)
By Ray Pendleton
Four messages in my e-mail in-box last month were attention-getters, to say the least. Along with the usual spam and forwarded jokes were press releases announcing the results of four different fishing tournaments on the Big Island.
It wasn't the weight or the number of fish caught that caught my interest though. It was the size of the purses these jackpot tournaments had paid out. They totaled well over a third of a million dollars.
To begin with, Tropidilla Productions' Jody Bright, announced his eighth annual "Skins" Marlin Derby - a part of his Maui Jim Marlin Tournament Series - had given out $67,560 in prize money.
Similar to a Skins game in golf, the tournament's total purse was split into three equal amounts and then awarded to the largest marlin of the day over 500 pounds. Each day's purse rolled over to the next day if no fish of that weight were caught. There were also optional entry categories for side bets.
With Captain McGrew Rice at the helm, the team aboard Ihu Nui took first place with a 771 1/2-pound Pacific blue marlin and collected a total of $34,030. The second place team aboard Brian Wargo's boat Bite Me received $15,080 for a marlin weighing just 48 pounds less.
The third place team, fishing on Reuben Rubio's Legend 2, boated a marlin too small for a "skin," but because it had entered more optional categories it ended up with the second largest purse of $18,450.
Just a week later, tournament anglers were competing for a huge purse of $248,600 at Mike Nelson's World Billfish Challenge, one event in the year-long, World Billfish Series that has tournaments in both Atlantic and Pacific ocean locations.
At the end of three days, the first place team, fishing aboard Ryan Foster's boat Do Jo, proudly accepted a check for $31,626. A second place check of $17,570 was paid out to the team fishing on Mike Derago's boat Maggie Joe, and the third place money of $10,542 went to team Michael Contreras aboard Billy Ross' Eclipse.
Ironically, because of its optional side bets, the fourth place, Warvid Fishing Team on Marlin Parker's Marlin Magic, took home the largest total purse of $101,205.
Another tournament I heard from was Huggo's Na Pua O Ke Kai Wahine fishing tournament - the largest all-women tournament in Hawai`i - with 304 female contestants and some $12,000 in prize money.
A team calling itself the Hooker Bookers, fishing on Kurt Rose's boat Big Eddy, weighed in a 265-pound Pacific blue marlin to grab first place and win $4,800. In second place, team Surgical Scrub, aboard Michael Shimamoto's boat Red Opae, won $3,000, and team Charter Desk, aboard McGrew Rice's boat Ihu Nui, captured third place and $2,400.
The fourth jackpot event of the month was the Hawaii International Billfish Tournament's Pro-Am, which, unlike the legendary, trophy-only tournament that follows it, had a combined jackpot over $55,000.
The team aboard Randy Parker's boat Huntress weighed in a tournament record, 823-pound, Pacific blue marlin for first place and $42,040.
Based on tag-and-release points alone, second place money of $8,232 was collected by the Husker's Fishing Club and third place's $5,488 went to the Kona Game Fishing Club.
With a grand total of $383,970 being paid out from all four tournaments last month, I'll bet angler hangouts in Kailua-Kona were really rocking.
HoloHolo Hawai`i Ocean Sports News