Captain Jeff Donahue provides a thorough breakdown of the all new Hatteras GT59. Captain Jeff runs the Hatterascal, hull number one of the GT59 series, on it’s wide ranging tournament schedule. See how the boat is designed, performs and what all goes into making a Hatteras. You won’t want to miss it.
MAY 07, 2004
Fifteen years ago today, was the date that Hilton’s Realtime-Navigator was launched with 3 regions in the northern Gulf of Mexico which has now grown to 36 regions; Gulf of Mexico, East coast, West coast, Central America, South America, Caribbean, and more! What an incredible journey, meeting so many great people over the years doing what we all love – fishing!
The site has evolved tremendously over the years and is still evolving – we will be unveiling several new features next week at the Mobile Big Game Membership meeting as well as the Orange Beach Billfish Classic!
A couple of sneak previews; our new service called Hilton’s SAT2NAV system as well as our new “H.E.L.P.” program.
Stay tuned – more details to come!
Thank you very much to everyone who has supported our service over the years!
All the best,
By Capt. Jody Bright
March and April have long been hailed as “big fish months” in Kona, and indeed, there have been some very nice ones of late. We counted 31 blue marlin over 500 pounds in March and April. Here is the catch report from the Kona charter fleet – at least the ones we know of:
In the first week of March, Capt. B.T. of Melee Sport Fishing reports that a skiff released a marlin “about 800 pounds after it burned up their electric reel! 600 pounders were reported on Huntress and Jun Ken Po.
The largest blue marlin weighed in early March was a 713 pounder caught on Ihu Nui with Capt. McGrew Rice and the Clarence Clemons of the Cockpit, Carlton Arai.
On March 11, the High Noon caught a 670 pounder to back up a 642 they weighed in February. They are also reported to have broken off a fish that could have been 800 pounds.
Capt. Gene Vanderhoek went out holoholo on March 13 to train a new crew and ended up catching his old crew – 72 year old Skip Dasher – the largest fish of his angling career, a 708 pound blue. Dasher and company subdued their catch in a quick fifteen minutes.
Gene’s “crewman in training”, Brett Mowens, also caught a blue they tagged at 500+. They were back at the dock by 1:00 pm. Now that is a mighty fine busman’s holiday!
On March 14, Capt. Chad Contessa on a Bite Me boat weighed a 596 pound blue on Bite Me 1 after it arrived at the boat DOA.
Based on an informal phone survey, additional nice ones tagged recently include a 650+ released by Humdinger with Capt. Jeff Fay at the wheel. Marlin Magic II released one they called 550+ and Kona Blue released one about 500 pounds and pulled hook on another, also about 500. Nasty Habit also released one that they called 500.
EZ Pickens has been fishing with owners Brad and Vicky Picking every Saturday and Sunday since December. Up until last weekend they averaged one blue a day for a total of 25 blues so far, as well as lots of stripes and spearfish. Their largest to date was in the 500 pound range, tagged and released. In big game fishing, no hot streak lasts forever and last weekend they finally experienced a fishless day.
March 20: Linda Sue weighed a 722 pounder overtaking Ihu Nui in the top position of the Big Fish List. Foxy Lady tagged a 500 pounder.
A few fish under 400 rose on the 21st, Hula Girl caught one about 450 but Sea Genie II would start the 22nd as the pole sitter after tagging a 600 pound blue.
On Friday March 22nd, Night Runner had the “encounter of the week” when they swung and missed a few times at a marlin the experienced skipper and crew both said was the largest either have ever seen.
Huntress tagged two on the 22nd to top singles around the fleet. March 23rd was a “big fish day.” Marlin Magic II tagged one over 500, another at 375 – and also pulled hook on another 500 and one they called 650! Foxy Lady caught a youngster a 492 pound blue.
Honey returned from an overnighter on March 24 with 12 big ahi.
March 25 saw Maverick tag one and set it free, calling it 500 pounds. Hooked Up tagged and blue and two stripeys that day, which sounded like a January report. Waiopai almost got their “Kona Slam” with a nice blue and a stripey but when the spearfish they hooked came unhooked, that was all she wrote.
The next day, Waiopai got even with the billfish gods and caught, tagged and released a blue they called 650, telling it to come back during a tournament.
Northern Lights had the next “encounter of the week” on the 27th., while out holoho, whale watching and relaxing. According to the story posted on the new Facebook page Kona Marlin Report, their relaxation was shattered by a marlin that exceeded all the superlatives usually used such as “monster” or “biggest ever seen” and “giant”. You get the picture. We aren’t talking first timers or novices here, either. These are veterans “to da max” to throw in just one more superlative.
Hooked Up tagged a 450 on March 29 and on March 30 Marlin Magic II was back in the news with two blues tagged, one about 275 and one they estimated to be 575.
No “granders” yet, but that was a total of 20 blues over 500 pounds caught in March alone.
There were some real nice fish caught in April too, and a lot of days where boats caught multiple marlin and multiple species as well. Again, check the Kona Marlin Report page on Facebook for up to the minute catch logs.
Between April 2 and April 5 marlin in the 600 pound class were caught by Pair O Dice, Sapo, Honey and Maverick.
The charter boat Melee had an interesting day on the 9th of April going 1/3, tagging a 700 pound blue. The two they lost were also hefty, estimated at 500+ and 700+.
Blue Hawaii had what they called a 500 pounder expire on them and when they weighed it, the tally was 497. That’s real close to 500!
On April 12, a noteworthy report came in from a skiff. They went 4/8 on marlin, with the largest over 500 pounds.
Multiple catches were logged through all phases of the April moon and some of the reports have been pretty spectacular.
Melee went 3 for 6 on blues on April 14, the same day Humdinger caught 3 blues as well. The next day, Kona Blue caught 4 striped marlin.
Night Runner caught a blue, a spearfish and a sailfish on April 14 and backed that up with a sailfish on April 19 and 20th. Sails are rare in Kona, so they must have found one of those famous secret spots without a name.
Capt. Jeff Fay has been quoted (tongue in cheek) to say that there are few sailfish in calm Kona because there is not enough wind. This might be the reason why Kona is not a sail boaters mecca, but that’s a “Fay-ism” when it comes to sailfish. Truth be told, sailfish are usually a Continental inhabitant, preferring shallow water, the one thing Kona is lacking that actually makes a difference.
Honey went 3 for 4 on blue marlin and 1/1 on striped marlin on April 20, evidence that the full moon does not always dampen the marlin bite.
If that didn’t make you a believer, you would have no choice but to pay attention when Humdinger caught 2 blues, 6 striped marlin and a spearfish, all on April 21 when the moon was bright.
Rounding the turn into the third quarter moon phase, the bite has even gotten better! Anxious went 3 for 3 on blues on April 25, with the largest a healthy 600 pounder.
April 26 was a banner day with Tropical Sun going 3 for 4 on blues with one spearfish and Go Get Em went 3 for 4 on blues AND 3 for 4 on spearfish. J.R.’s Hooker was 2 for 2 on blues as was Waiopai.
The second half of April has produced four more marlin over 500 pounds, a 682 pounder on Bite Me 6 that was brought in because it would not revive at boat side, the largest fish weighed in April – so far.
Bite Me 3 released one they called 600 on April 26, and putting icing on the cake, Pursuit tagged a very thick 800 pounder, fishing one of Kona’s famous fishing spots – “the trail run.”
Melee closed out April going 1 out of 2 bites, catching a 700 pounder and losing a 700 pounder.
So, when wrapping up the month of April, it appears that two more fish over 500 were caught on the waxing first quarter than the waning third quarter. In March, there were more blues caught over 500 than in April, but there was no discernable pattern relative to moon phase. In March the biggest fish so far (722) was caught on the full moon, but in April there were no big ones caught on the full moon. There was action in the moonlight though, and a number of boats caught multiples on a few big moon days.
So, which moon phase is best? Does the moon phase even matter?
People are always trying to figure out when the best fishing occurs. Is it the moon or is it the tide? Could it be the current, or is ocean surface temperature the key? Perhaps, as my grandmother used to say, it’s just the way you hold your mouth.
For those who can contemplate more complex theories, the idea that the best fishing is created by some combination of these elements can have them contemplating complexities, all the live long day.
The fact of the matter is that none of those items contribute to fishing success if there are no fish in the area. Yes, current can cause them to gather in an area but you can have good current and no fish. You just can’t catch fish that are somewhere you are not. And that does happen. Sometimes the fish are just gone. Obviously, that is not the case in Kona, at present.
Once they move in, like now, then those elements may come in to play. Marlin tend to bite around a tide change, but even that is not set in stone. As Capt. Tomo Rogers once said, “If I thought that the only time I had a chance at getting a bite was during the tide change, I’d only fish during the tide change, but I don’t. So, what does that tell you?”
On top of that, the phase of the moon has not seemed to have had much effect on the bite this April, because the fish have been biting throughout the lunar cycle. If one was so inclined, contemplating this complexity could make a live long day drag on forever, if it weren’t for the distraction of all those marlin bites.
The other bottom line is you can’t catch em if you don’t go, so stop wishing and go fishing! No better time then now, by the looks of it.
If you can’t jump a plane now, tournament season starts in June. There are 7 tourneys in the Hawaii Marlin Tournament Series and an entry fee and format for every style of angler. Events are open to everyone and no experience is required because Kona’s pro charter fleet teaches novices to catch marlin 365 days a year. If you are experienced, better yet!
For more information log on: https://konatournaments.com/
Or Write: firstname.lastname@example.org – 808.557.0908
The great early fishing in Hawaii in 2019 could be a primer for a wide open tournament season this summer. Check the updates on Hawaii’s tournaments in the 2019 Hawaii Division of the Captain of the Year, presented by Sea Genie II! First tournament event is in June, check back at InTheBite for standings and updates. There are also charter spots available for tournament anglers should you like to fish the tournaments yourself.
Have you ever wanted to know the most popular lures used around the Bahamas, the Gulf of Mexico and the Mid-Atlantic? Take a minute and listen in to Grand Slam Sportfishing Supply owner Jim McGrath as he showcases the best lures for 2019. Lures include the recent World Cup and the Mid-Atlantic winner. Don’t wait and order yours today!
The 4th annual White Marlin Roundup, was again based out of the beautiful Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour Marina, was held April 10-13, 2019. There were 25 registered boats and the weather forecast was perfect, light winds and calm seas.
The first day of fishing was beautiful and the 77’ Bayliss, Wave Paver was off to a great start as they released 6 white marlin, for 1950 points. Plane Simple a 70’ Spencer finished the day in second place with 3 whites for 975 points. In third, was the Lo Que Sea with a 2 whites and 1 blue marlin for 800 points.
The real catch of the day was caught on The Chaser as they boated a white marlin to weigh in! As the crowd gathered around the weigh station, The Chaser backed in with an extra large white marlin in the cockpit. Angler Nick Locuv stood close by as he marlin was hoisted and the scales showed “129” pounds For the day there was 18 whites, 4 blue marlin and 8 sailfish released, along with the one big marlin that was weighed!
On day two with the same calm conditions, Wave Paver maintained their lead on the fleet by releasing 5 white marlin increasing their lead on the fleet. The Lo Que Sea added to their total by catching 4 whites to get them into second place overall and the Plane Simple dropped down to 3rd place. There was a total of 22 whites, 2 sailfish and 2 blue marlin caught on day two.
On day three, the final day of fishing, the Plane Simple got red hot and put the pressure on the Wave Paver by catching 4 white before noon. Wave Paver fought back by catching 4 that afternoon while Plane Simple caught 3 more that afternoon too. The 7 white marlin that the Plane Simple caught, put them well into second place, and Lo Que Sea ended up in third place. At lines out it was the Wave Paver winning this event for the second time in three years.
With 33 whites, 5 sailfish and 3 blue marlin caught on day three, it brought the three day total to 71 whites, 15 sailfish and 9 blue marlin!
All competitors gathered to honor the winners during the awards presentation at the beautiful Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour Marina! The Ken Ullberg trophy for the Top Boat award went to Wave Paver and her owner Jr Davis! They also claimed many awards, including two top dailies, , the jackpot for the overall winner, Top Captain & Crew and even the largest Mahi of 39.5 pounds as they took home a big check of $149,740. The Top Captain & Crew went to Captain Russell Sinclair, and crew members Cody, Garrett, Ryan and Doug.
Plane Simple took second place, earning them a prize of $55,080. Third place went to the Lo Que Sea awarding them $20,880.
Angler Nick Locuv and The Chaser took home a check for $40,400 for the largest white marlin.
The top angler was Scott Glasscock on the Wave Paver. Scott caught 9 white marlin. The Top Lady Angler was Laura Russell on the Hit n Run! The largest tuna and wahoo was caught by Steven Staclings on the Jichi and they took home a check for $19,500.
We look forward to seeing everyone again at next year’s tournament, to be held again at the Abaco Beach Resort & Boat Harbour Marina. The dates will be April 15-18, 2020. See you all there!
Fishing, Fun and Family in the Florida Keys
Capt. Ben Sharpe and Gypsea capture the 6th Annual Viking Key West Challenge.
(Key West, Florida, February 13, 2019)—Forty Vikings from 42 to 82 feet and a record 475 participants descended upon the southernmost city in the United States last week for the 6th Annual Viking Key West Challenge. Ben Sharpe was the winning captain for the fourth time, leading the Viking 56 Gypsea to victory in a closely contested – but fun-focused – competition.
“The Key West Challenge has been a success every year, but this time around the energy level, excitement and fishing was at an all-time high,” said Viking President and CEO Pat Healey. “This is an event exclusively for Viking owners, family and friends. It gives us the opportunity to thank them for being part of the Viking family.”
After a captain’s meeting at Dante’s Tiki Bar that featured delicious food, fun prizes and lots of camaraderie, the teams headed off the following morning for a glorious day on the water. A total of 45 sailfish were released and one swordfish was caught on day one. Gypsea topped the Day One leaderboard with five sails released (500 points), followed by the Viking 80 Mr. Grinch with four sails (400 points). The Viking 62 Tami Ann also released four sails and took third on time. The teams steamed back to the scales at Conch Harbor Marina to weigh their catches and pose for pictures. The Viking 44 Miss Peggy Sue II and captain/owner David Heeter stole the show with a 108-pound swordfish, which was donated for lunch the next day!
More Than Just Fishing
A pool party and lunch, a kids dock tournament and a poker run (i.e. bar crawl) highlighted a relaxed but festive lay day. In the kids tournament, which was sponsored by The Billfish Foundation, Colin Dicembrino took first place, with sisters Ella and Mia Wilson placing second and third, respectively. “This is what it’s all about – passing on the passion for fishing to the next generation,” TBF President Ellen Peel said. “Great job kids!”
The fishing turned white hot on the final day, with 87 sails released. The Viking 48 Fish Wish released eight sails and caught an 8.3-pound dolphin for 808.3 points. Last year’s champ, the Viking 55 Ragin Cajun, was right on their heels with seven sails and a 21.4-pound tuna (721.4 points).
Gypsea had a solid day two as well, with five sails. But it was their dolphin that turned out to be the difference-maker. With an overall point total of 1,004.6, Gypsea edged second-place finisher Mr. Grinch (1,000 overall points) to take the 2019 Viking Key West Challenge crown. Ragin Cajun landed third place overall with 933.8 points. Natalie Rarick on the Viking 82 Bandit took both Top Angler and Top Female Angler awards with eight sailfish and a total of 892.2 points. All results are listed below.
The four-day event wrapped up with an outdoor evening dinner and awards ceremony at the Margaritaville Resort that began with a beautiful Key West sunset. “You can’t beat this,” said Pat. “We truly do appreciate your participation in making this a very special Viking event.”
Next year, the 7th Annual Key West Challenge will be held April 15-18, 2020. Book your slip today!
Miami Beach, Fla. (April 7, 2019) – The stakes were high, and the pressure was on for the 37 teams competing off Miami Beach in Final Sail, the grand finale of the 2019 Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series. The tournament opened with a kickoff party at the DoubleTree Grand by Hilton that included a casino fundraiser to benefit the tournament’s charity, Fishing for Muscular Dystrophy (FFMD). The combined efforts of the teams and the casino night enabled Bluewater Movements to present FFMD with a check for $5,000 to help them on their mission to cured MD. [Read more…]
Miami Beach, Fla. (Mar. 18, 2019) – The party moves south, as the highly anticipated grand finale of the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series, Final Sail, closes out in Miami Beach this year on April 3-7. A hefty purse in excess of $800,000 is not the only prize teams have their eyes on. The prestigious burgundy jackets are also awarded to the top overall team at this final leg of the series. With an elite fleet of competitors, this world title is as tight as the lines, but the leader will be cut soon and just one team will claim their spot in the competitive sailfishing hall of fame.
Major payouts aren’t the only attraction for teams at Final Sail. This grand finale takes place in Miami Beach, with an exciting kick-off party overlooking beautiful Biscayne Bay and a Resorts World Bimini sponsored “Casino Night” where anglers compete on the green felt to help raise money for the tournament charity, Fishing for Muscular Dystrophy. The kick-off party is held Wednesday, April 3rd at the incredible DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay. With a “day of rest” in between, competition starts on Friday, April 5th with lines in at 8 a.m. Following lines out on day one, teams can unwind for happy hour at the famous Monty’s Restaurant in Miami Beach Marina with complimentary drinks and food. Day two of competition is Saturday April 6th and tensions will be high as the final scores determine both the winners of Final Sail and the Quest for the Crest series.
With a total purse exceeding $1.9 million dollars, several boats have claimed six figure prizes at each stop for the series. With a current payout approaching $350,000 and a winner-take-all format, the Release Round Up has the undivided attention of every team and many spectators heading into Final Sail. Run the table in Final Sail and your team will have a shot at a payday in excess of $500,000. Five teams were in arms reach of the jackpot in the last tournament, Sailfish Challenge, and two of those teams needed just two more releases to win the massive jackpot. The signature category is broken into four rounds of fishing (morning and afternoon) over the two-day competition. In each round, a random number between 1 and 6 is drawn at the start of the round and represents the minimum number of sailfish a team must release during the 4-hour round in order to advance to the next. A team must advance through all four rounds and have the most releases in the final round among their competitors in order to claim the jackpot.
The results of the first two legs in the series have been diverse, with Utopia taking first place for Operation Sailfish with 14 releases, MDALA only a release behind with 13, and Kluch/Reel Easy taking 3rd place with 12 releases. Sailfish Challenge was a nail-bitter to the end. Native Son, one of the final five in the Release Round Up at the Challenge, secured 1st place with 20 releases. Team Good Call followed closely behind in 2nd with 19 releases and Kluch/Reel Easy snagged back-to-back 3rd place finishes with 18 releases. Their consistent performances earned them the lead in the series standings with 56 points followed by Bar South in 2nd place with 51 points, and one of the center-console favorites, team Showtime in 3rd place with 49 points on their 39’ SeaVee.
Claiming the world champions title and the burgundy jackets requires dominant performances and most importantly – consistency. As the final sailfish tournament of the season, teams know what is at stake. Who will rise to the occasion? The 7th annual Final Sail will be one to remember and the tournament of the season you won’t want to miss!
2019 Final Sail Details:
The Final Sail kick-off party is held on Wednesday, April 3 at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay in Miami Beach. Competition days are both Friday, April 5th and Saturday, April 6th, followed by an awards ceremony Sunday, April 7th at the DoubleTree Grand Hilton Hotel ballroom. Tournament registration is available online at www.FinalSail.com and remains open until the conclusion of the kickoff party on April 3rd.
For more information on Final Sail, visit www.FinalSail.com or call 954-725-4010. The entire Quest for the Crest schedule and series standings can be found at http://www.questforthecrest.com
KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Team Seraphim of Ocean Reef, led by Captain Jerry Pohl of Miami, Florida, tallied 12 sailfish releases to take top honors at the two-day Billfish Championship, a main event of the Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week that ended March 9 in the Florida Keys.
The Seraphim team earned $405,000 in overall prize money for the victory, as well as authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member. [Read more…]
Triple the number of billfish released during Leg 2 compared to Leg 1 of the tournament series.
Los Sueños Resort and Marina, located at Playa Herradura on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific Coast, held the second leg of its sixth annual Los Sueños Signature Triple Crown billfish series, presented by Chantilly Air, February 27 – March 2, 2019. A total of 45 of the world’s most competitive billfishing teams comprised of 214 individual anglers challenged each other over three days of fishing. The Los Sueños Triple Crown Series is a catch and release tournament which awards 100 points per sailfish and 500 point per marlin release.
Fishing is always amazing at Los Sueños, but it was exceptionally good during this second leg of the three part tournament series. During Leg 1 in January, the 44 participating teams released 648 billfish over three days, or 15 fish per boat. This time around, with 45 boats competing, this number was passed by 3:15 pm on Day 1! It was sailfish bite all the way, with a total of 2,063 billfish released, translating to an average of 46 fish per boat.