Hoolea Tournament improved

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (08/21/99)
By Ray Pendleton

Hey angler, have you entered the Hoolea Fishing Tournament yet? If not, there could be several good reasons why you might want to give it a shot.

First, I should mention it's not the same old Hoolea Tournament, even though it is now in its 13th year. Oh, it's still organized by the Hawaii and Waikiki yacht clubs, it still receives major sponsorship from Sea-Land Service Hawaii, and it still pays back 100 percent of your entry fee in prize money. But there have also been some changes made that should make it more appealing than ever before.

For starters, the tournament will be fished over the Labor Day weekend - Sept. 4 and 5 - so anglers can go fishing and still have Monday left to spend with their families.

And, speaking of families, this year both yacht clubs will provide temporary membership status to the families of those fishing in the tournament. While the teams are out trying to catch the big one, the rest of the family can cool off in the swimming pool, have lunch at the snack bar, or pop down a cold one in the shade of a coconut tree. Additional family entertainment is planned as well.

The two clubs will also offer all boats tie-up space for the weekend, and they will be running a shuttle boat between the clubs for easy access to both sides of the Ala Wai harbor.

Another big change in this year's Hoolea Tournament is the entry fee. Understanding the economic conditions in Hawai`i, its organizers have dropped the cost to $375 for a six-member boat team. The fee also covers the cost for four banquet tickets and four T-shirts.

Additional tickets and shirts may be purchased for $15 each.

In past years, one of the Hoolea's most notable awards to the winning team was a paid entry into the now-canceled Hawaii International Billfish Tournament in Kailua-Kona. This year tournament organizers are proud to announce the team boating the largest qualifying ahi will receive a paid entry and become Team #2 in what has become the biggest jackpot tournament in Hawai`i, Waianae's Ahi Fever in 2000.

Another change this year will be welcomed by most early-rising anglers. The starting time has been moved up from 8 a.m. to 6 a.m., giving them a full 10 hours of fishing time each day.

Although the tournament will retain a catch-and-release points system, its fishing rules have been somewhat relaxed form previous years.

As the entry form brochure points out, "Line class, leaders and the use of dead bait is unrestricted. Set your poles and go get 'em."

Along with looser rules, the organizers have put out an invitation to those who fish aboard sailboats. Not only are you welcome, but if there is enough interest, a separate division may be created for you.

Apparently, all of the changes have had a positive effect, because tournament organizers report they have 45 paid entries to date. But don't worry, if the changes sound good to you too, there is no entry cap, so you can still enter - up to the end of the skippers' meeting on Friday, Sept. 3.

In the first dozen Hoolea Tournaments, the largest winning fish was a 768.5-pound Pacific blue marlin and the smallest was a 118-pound ahi.

That would seem to indicate that almost any fish caught is a potential winner.

If you think you have as good a chance as anyone, why not call Mike House at 396-2607, or Rick Abille at 845-4104 and get your entry form today?

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