2014 Kona Hawaii Billfish Tournaments

Charter Desk New Year’s Day Tournament  –   January 1st

  • The Charter Desk is hosting their annual New Year’s Day Tournament!

Dirty Dozen

  • First Saturday of Every Month.

Rock and Reel Tournament  –  June 13th, 14th & 15th

  •  The Hawaii Big Game Fishing Club invites you to come join the fun and excitement of our 12th Annual Rock ‘n Reel Hawaiian Open!

Kona Kick Off  –  June 28th  & 29th

  • The Tournament that kicks it all off. Local Style. Largest flag fish of each category splits purse.

29th Annual Blue Marlin World Cup Tournament  –  July 4th

  • The “World Cup” is truly the only worldwide tournament of its kind. Each July 4, teams fish for 8 hours in their time zone to see who can catch the largest blue marlin over 500 pounds. Winner takes all. There is no second place.  The World Cup supports game fishing though its support of the IGFA and The Billfish Foundation.  http://www.bluemarlinworldcup.com/

Firecracker Open  –  July 5th, 6th & 7th

  • Kona’s signature “Big Game” Tournament that scores ahi and marlin points for the base purse. Optional categories for the largest marlin and ahi of each day and of the two day tournament.

Marlin Magic Lure Tournament  –  July 8th & 9th

Skins Marlin Derby  –  July 11th, 12th, 13th, & 14th

  • The most unique Big Marlin competition in the world! Patterned after the golf format, the base purse is available each fishing day to the largest marlin weighing 500 lbs or more. If no one catches a marlin of that size, the day’s purse rolls over and is added to the next day’s purse.

Throw Down   –  July 15th, 16th, 17th

  • The Single Largest Marlin of the Tournament will be Winner Take All the purse from the Base Entry division. Entry fee to be posted soon.

54th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament  –   July 26th – August 2nd 

  • Five days of tournament fishing July 26th – August 2nd. Anglers and teams are invited to apply early as full tournament participation is anticipated. Log onto http://www.hibtfishing.com/ for details.

 Big Island Marlin Tournament  –   August 8th, 9th & 10th 

  • The event that started it all off in 1986. The BIMT was the very first high stakes, big game tournament in Hawaii to pay a cash purse for tag and release. The base entry pays the top three largest marlin. Optionals pay most points and largest marlin per day.

Veterans Helping Veterans  –  August 29th, 30th & 31st

September Challenge  –   September 12th, 13th  & 14th

  • Designed with input from the top skippers of 2010, minimum size fish is 400 lbs and 1st Place takes 70% of the base purse.

Feel free to contact me about availability and information about these events.  

Goodbye My Friend

Farewell to Adam December 23, 2013

Today we laid Adam to rest at his favorite spot offshore from what we refer to as “Pine Trees Surf Spot”  Seven boats carrying friends and family paid their last respects as Father Gary Colton from Maui led us in prayer.  Goodbye my Friend…

“Our life changes in an instant when someone we love dies. Everything is different, except the love. The love doesn’t go anywhere. The sweet mystery is that love survives – it takes refuge in our hearts, weaves itself into the fabric of our minds, and rests deeply in our bones.  At first, and even for awhile, the heart may feel confused and twisted. Our emotions and moods swerve out of control. The usual delights of life no longer offer pleasure or comfort. We miss and long for our loved one.  Then a certain song plays on the radio, we enjoy a piece of apple pie, we laugh at something our dear one would find silly, we arrive at a new milestone in life – and, somehow, we’re restored to living life. Except, we find that we’ve awakened into a new and foreign land. Here, we live not with them, but remembering them. In a curious way, we discover that instead of seeing them before us, we find them right here, inside of us. This divine spark – living on in us – is their lasting legacy.”  (Quoted from Dorry Bless)


R.I.P. Adam Ludwig

Gary Nardi 235 pound Yellowfin Tuna editedWe are deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved friend Adam Ludwig.  Adam passed on Friday, December 13, 2013 here in Kona Hawaii.  Those of you that had the priveledge of fishing with this young man know how deeply he will be missed.  Adam had a passion for fishing and the ocean.  As an  avid surfer he many times would see the waves as we left the harbor mouth and you could see the desire in his eyes as being torn between fishing and surfing.  This was a banner year for Adam aboard Fire Hatt.  He leadered a 1058 pound Blue Marlin, a 235 pound Yellowfin tuna, a double hookup on 500+ and 700+ blue marlin that were released and lifetime records for him in Spearfish, Mahi Mahi and Ono.   He truly loved the sea and his spirit will live on with those of us he left behind.  We love you and miss you.  Rest in peace my friend.

Ono Day is a “Good Day”

Ono Day with Rob Dawson 1Ono Day is a “Good Day”.    Ono (OH-no). Actual Hawaiian word, meaning good or delicious.  Ono in Hawaii is Wahoo in other parts of the country.  Linda Shive and her husband visiting from South Bend, Indiana were attending a conference on the Big Island and took a day to enjoy some fun family fishing.  We headed out early and had a bite right out of the gates!  Having just finished putting the lures in the water and rounding the point headed south, the short rigger line came down! We are hooked up!  Linda gets in the chair and quickly brings the 16+ pound Ono to the boat and proudly announces this is her biggest fish ever.  I am certain it was her that got hooked for life…  We cleaned and packaged the fish for the couple to take back with them to the Four Seasons Resort where they were staying during their trip to the Island.

Featured in the photo is Linda Shive along with Fire Hatt Crewman Rob Dawson from Kamloops, Brittish Columbia

Big Island Big Moon Big Fish

548 lb Blue Marlin October 2013

Randy and Donna Macleod and Kathy and Gilbert Kee with their 548 pound Blue Marlin in Kona, Hawaii

Big Island Big Moon Big Fish It seems that a big full moon motivates the bigger Marlin to get hungry and attack.  Yesterday, Randy Mcleod along with longtime friend Gilbert Kee boarded FIRE HATT with high hopes of catching a Blue Marlin.  On a three quarter day trip I headed south on a tip that there was some action in the area of “Red Hill” the day before.  It had been reported that one Marlin was hooked and lost and another big Marlin broke off.   With that info to go on, we patroled the area and waited for our turn.  At just after 11:00 am we had a beauty come up in the pattern and bat at the short rigger line.  Crewman Ryan Thurner teased the fish in on a Moldcraft Softhead lure and the fight was on!  We are hooked up!  After a 45 minute battle, Randy landed a 548 pound Blue Marlin.  That was not our intention though.  We highly recommend releasing Marlin that size as they are potentially the best breed stock.  This big one stayed deep almost the entire fight.  Once we removed the hook we pulled her for 15 to 20 minutes trying to get her to “Kick” her tail and be able to swim.  She did not recover so we had to boat her.

 AFTCO  Proudly Supports Pro Team Captain Chuck Wilson and Team Fire Hatt

Marlin Double Feature

One of the two marlin released today.

First Mate Adam Ludwig releasing one of the two marlin caught today.

Marlin Double Feature!  On Saturday, first mate Adam Ludwig and I found ourselves in a very wild battle with more than 1,200 pounds of Blue Marlin.  We had a Father-and-son party from Australia aboard.  Peter Dalle-Nagare  and his son, Kyle along with their family boarded Fire Hatt  and we headed off shore and then out to “C Buoy” .  It was an uneventful ride up to this point so we headed back up the line inside.  At around noon, we were trolling off Captain Cook in around 500 fathoms.  The water was glassy calm, which would be a help in the battle to come.  I had just reassured my anglers that there was a lot of good trolling water around them when the stinger line started screaming and took over the dialogue.  A 500-pound marlin had grabbed a John Lau lure on the stinger line and then took to the air in an almost continuous tail-walk for nearly two minutes.  Peter is in the chair just starting his battle when I slowed the boat so Adam could start clearing the lines so we could chase the fish.  As Adam reeled in the Aloha Smash Bait lure on the short outrigger, an even bigger marlin charged it.  We were almost in idle when the marlin showed. The lure was back at about the third wave so we could easily see its big bill, big head and big shoulders.  Then, wham, we were now hooked up to two big fish at once.  The second marlin screamed off about 500 yards of line, which caused a great predicament.  Which fish do we follow and try to get first (if at all)?  Fortunately, the first two minutes of intense acrobatic effort had taken a lot of steam out of the first marlin.  The second fish, estimated at 725 or more pounds, had headed off in a different direction so there was no present danger of getting the lines crossed and tangled. By then, we had gotten all of our gear out of the way by raising the outriggers and transferring all of their rods into the cabin. While Peter fought his fish from the chair, Kyle fought his fish from a rod holder on the gunwale.  Depending on which fish was giving the most trouble at the time, I eased the pressure on the anglers by crabbing the boat sideways in one direction and then the other.  The tactic was to keep one fish at 4 o’clock and the other at 8 o’clock to avoid crossed and cut off lines.  With smaller fish in mind through the coming months, I had downshifted to 50-class Matsuura reels but they held more than enough of the thin strong braid to keep from running out even if the fish got a half mile apart.  The crabbing tactic got the first fish to the boat successfully for a quick tag and safe release.  Soon after we got Kyle into the chair and started working exclusively on the second fish, he got it to the boat for another release.  The whole unbelievable event was over by a little more than an hour after the first strike.

Blue Marlin Release for Romania Family

August Marlin

Blue Marlin Release for Romania Family fishing in Kona.  When Octavian Mardarasevici and his family boarded Fire Hatt today they had hopes of just catching anything.  What happened next turned into a true Family Fishing Adventure in Kona.  We went almost the whole day without a single bite.  Octavian being the angler today, paced the deck, got in and out of the fighting chair a few times and helped scan the horizon all day just looking for a sign.  Then finally, the Blue Marlin bite we had been waiting for came.  The fish came in on the long corner and devoured a Crampton lure.  We are Hooked Up!  The fish went straight down and did not surface until a lot of line was retrieved.  We thought maybe a tuna?  Then as the line started to come to the surface the marlin came exploding out of the water and put on quite a show!  Octavian fought the fish on a 50lb Matsuura reel for just under 40 minutes.  Once the fish was leadered, tagged and secured beside the boat, Mike Fir and Linda was able to get Octavian out of the fighting chair and encouraged him to take the Marlin by the bill and start to revive it.  In just a short time the fish was kicking and Octavian released it.  Just watching the expression on Octavian’s face when it was over reminds me of what we take for granted in this sport.  Having reeled in a fish and then putting your hands on it to revive and release it is the most satisfying experience a fisherman can participate in.  A true Kona Family Fishing Experience.

Octavian MardarasevicFeatured in the photo wearing AFTCO release gloves.

Fire Damages Boat at Honokohau Harbor

Boat Fire 1West Hawaii Today

A fire ignited by an engine compartment explosion damaged a sportfishing vessel Saturday morning at Honokohau Marina and Small Boat Harbor in North Kona, according to the Hawaii Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

The boat, identified through photos submitted to West Hawaii Today, was within the harbor’s boat launch ramp when the reported explosion occurred about 7 a.m., according to the fire department. Bystanders, including other boaters, had put out the blaze using fire extinguishers prior to arrival of firefighters based out of the Kailua Fire Station.

Chuck Wilson, captain of the vessel Fire Hatt, and a Retired Fire Chief Officer reported that his deckhand, Adam Ludwig, used two of their boat’s fire extinguishers to snuff the blaze. Wilson also stated that a man, identified as the boat’s owner, was able to flee the boat without injury. His sons were near the vehicle when the explosion occurred; neither was injured.

Featured in the photo is First Mate Adam Ludwig from the Vessel FIRE HATT extinguishing the blaze.

Summer Fun for Families and Kids Aboard Fire Hatt

Summer Kids 2013Summer Fun for Families and Kids Aboard Fire Hatt.  I just can’t stress enough over the years how satisfying it is to see the face of a child fighting his or her first fish, biggest fish ever or seeing Porpoise and Whales for the first time in their lives!  We are witness to so many families experiencing what we may take for granted having done this for so many years.  When you see a proud Mom and Dad so delighted that their child has just landed their catch it brings what I do into perspective.  When you tell a child that “we are going fishing in Kona Hawaii”, they expect to catch a fish!  If this does not happen, the educating of the young ones (and old ones) begins.  I always tell the guests that I wish I could make the fish bite.  We want to catch a fish as bad as you do!  I tell our guests, sometimes the fish win.  We always encourage the child to keep trying, and tell them someday they will catch the fish of a lifetime, you just have to keep the faith.  I wanted to share the faces of the Kids so far this summer and just see the excitement and the anticipation in their eyes.

Record Ahi for Gary Nardi Aboard the Fire Hatt

Gary Nardi's 235 Pound Yellowfin tunaRecord Ahi for Gary Nardi Aboard the Fire Hatt.  Gary Nardi and his Father In-Law, Bill Chase from Northern CA have been fishing the Kona Hawaii Tournaments for years going back to the 70’s.  Having been aboard many boats over the years, we were delighted to have them as team mates for the World Cup Marlin Tournament and the Fire Cracker Open this year.  They brought along a nice collection of old stand by proven lures from their arsenal to pull.   The World Cup left us with out a Marlin.  We had one nice strike and the fish did not stick….  This did not phase our team.  Gary and Bill returned two days later with the same enthusiasim and the game was on!  With lures set, including a favorite chrome jet of theirs on the stinger.  (A friend of theirs caught an 1100 pound Marlin on one just like it, so they have complete faith in it.)  Sure enough,  our first bite of the day…on the stinger, on their chrome jet!  Gary fights the fish to the boat and knowing the feel of the fish, he knows it is probably an Ahi.  A beautiful 111 pound Yellowfin Tuna is boated and we are on the board for day one.  With spirits high, we are now on day two of the Tournament.  We set our pattern and wait.  We had an early bite that did not stick.  Then just after 3:00pm the long rigger line is bit. We are Hooked Up!  The fish took an old Joe Yee Mini Plunger.  Line is screaming off and Gary once again is in the chair.  It is a much heavier fish than the day before and in just a short 20 minute fight the fish is to the boat.  With Adam at leader and Linda at gaff, we have boated what is clearly a tournament contender and a new boat record for Yellowfin Tuna.  The Ahi weighs in at 235 pounds taking the Dailies for day two in the Ahi division.  The biggest Ahi of the tournament was caught by Team Maui Jim weighing in at 236.5 pounds.  So close!

Featured in the photo representing AFTCO as one of their Pro Teams is Captain Chuck Wilson, First Mate Adam Ludwig and Second Mate Linda Wilson along with team mates Gary Nardi and Bill Chase.