Unique Ho`ole`a
Had Its Usual Bit of Controversy

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (06/14/97)
By Ray Pendleton


In Hawaiian it means to cause pleasure.

It took an hour or so of discussion and deliberation at the weigh-in last weekend, but in the end the 11th Annual Ho`ole`a Fishing Tournament lived up to its name.

The tournament, hosted by the Waikiki and Hawaii yacht clubs, always seems to have a bit of controversy involved with it, but primarily because it is an unusual fishing contest in several respects.

For one thing, it is one of the few jackpot tournaments that always returns all of the fishing teams' entry fees back in prize money. In fact, due to generous contributions from its corporate sponsors, Sea-Land Service Hawaii, Amstel Light and Kimura Rods, anglers have annually taken home much more than 100 percent of their entry fees.

Another difference in the Ho`ole`a is its tag-and-release contest. In an attempt to encourage anglers to conserve fish by releasing small marlin rather than bringing them in to be weighed, it offers two major prizes for those with photographic evidence of fish they bring up to the boat and then tag and release.

A third difference of the tournament is that, through the generosity of the Hawaiian International Billfish Association, it offers a free entry in the prestigious Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kailua-Kona to the top amateur team. That alone is worth a whopping $3,980.

The final, and perhaps the most telling difference of the Ho`ole`a is that it is governed by the rules of the International Game Fish Association. Those are rules that are recognized and used around the world for establishing game fish records.

Most jackpot fishing tournaments here are run under "jungle rules," that is, no questions are asked about how a fish was caught, killed and boated. Many times gunshot or "bangstick" wounds are evident, but the only important factor is the dead weight at the scale.

One of the IGFA rules the Ho`ole`a is conducted under demands that there be no mutilation of the fish - usually due to a propeller or a shark bite, or shooting or harpooning - that could assist the angler in boating the fish.

On the second, and last day of the Ho`ole`a, two of the top fish brought in - both ahi - had incisions in them to allow them to bleed out to better preserve the quality of the meat. The question for the tournament committee: were they disqualified due to mutilation?

After many calls to various authorities in the Islands and on the mainland, and much heated argument around the weigh-in scale, a verdict was finally reached. Because the incisions had been made after the fish had been boated, and they had had no effect in assisting the angler to land the fish, the two ahi qualified.

Happiest with the ruling was angler Donald Zimmerle and the team aboard Capt. Lee Severs' Sea Verse III, who won the top prize of $4,400 for their 158-pound ahi.

Second happiest was angler Rick Daniels who brought in the third-place fish, a 139.5-pound ahi, which won $1,700 for his team on skipper Jerry Jensen's Ana May and captured the free entry into the 1997 HIBT.

Caught in the middle, no doubt with mixed emotions because his marlin was never in question, was Alan Young who boated a 147.5-pound Pacific blue for his team on Capt. Al Bento's Alele II for second place and $2,100.

Other top money-winning fish were Linda Dawson's 131.5-pound marlin caught on Ed Rino's Esoteric for fourth place and $1,100, and Skip Winterbottom's 120.5-pound marlin boated on Dudley Worthy's Kahuna Kai for fifth and $700..

Water Ways

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