Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Back Home and Getting Under Way

I am finally back at my desk after flying home from Hawaii last night. It was a fantastic privilege to be part of the 50th Anniversary HIBT, and I want to thank all the tournament organizers, as well as the teams, captains and crews who have helped to make the Great Marlin Race possible!

On the final day of the race, three tags went out on three different boats. Unfortunately, none of us managed to tag fish -- so the race is officially among seven entries. We are excited to have so many, and we look forward to the weeks and months ahead as we wait for the tags to come off and start sending us data.

The Awards Ceremony Saturday night was a fantastic event, and a wonderful tribute to Peter Fithian for seeing the HIBT through its first 50 years. Judging by the success and excitement around the tournament, I won't be surprised to see it go another 50 years and beyond.

Thanks to everyone for all your support!

Friday, July 24, 2009

One day to go...

Today we had the pleasure of spending the day with some really great guys from our neck of the woods, joining Dan and Sean Lester from Monterey Bay Anglers for a day on the water. What made it even more special is that we got to spend the day on board the Kila Kila, a magnificently appointed 53' Merritt. Captain Teddy Hoogs and Mate Josh Bunch provided a really wonderful experience -- despite the fact that we just couldn't seem to find fish!

Another bunch of locals, the Pajaro Valley Game Fish club #1, got out a tag on a nice marlin, fishing aboard the Long Ranger.

And the New Britain Game Fishing Club out of Papua New Guinea also helped us out by getting out a tag as well, on board the Strong Persuader.

That brings us up to a total of seven tags in the water -- leaving us with three to place tomorrow. To hedge our bets, we'll be putting each tag on a different boat, and crossing our fingers that we all get at least one shot!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Passing the Half Way Mark

Today was truly an amazing day for the Great Marlin Race. It began with the announcement that all of the tags have been sponsored -- so we'll have a full field of 10 marlins for the race! I'll share more details on this as they come available - but I want to convey our great appreciation to everyone who has decided to sponsor tags, and our excitement that the race is now really on!
More good news came later in the morning, when Packy Offield, from the International Game Fish Association, tagged and released a 180-200 lb. blue marlin on board the Strong Persuader.

Great Marlin Race tag #4 came just minutes later when Tan Chin, from the Laguna Niguel Fishing Club, Team 1, tagged a 140 lb. blue marlin, fishing on the Au'Kalani.

And a third tag for the day came when Dish Landfield, from Laguna Niguel Fishing Club Team 2, fishing with us on the Sea Baby III, tagged a 190 lb. blue marlin. So by the mid-point of the tournament, at noon today, we had 5 of the 10 Great Marlin Race tags out -- keeping us on track to have a full field by tournament end!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Second Day, A Second Marlin

George and I had the pleasure of joining the Laguna Niguel Fishing Club's Team 2 today on board the Jun Ken Po. Unfortunately, it was a slow day with no hookups. Laguna Niguel's Team 1, however, had better success -- tagging a 150 lb. marlin and later catching and releasing a second fish!

The proud team at the docks

We still have teams with tags to place, and we are hopeful that a few more teams might still throw their hats in the ring.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Race Is On!

What an amazing day this has been! It began very early, with George and I meeting at 5:45 to get to the docks. The flurry of activity was incredible, with boats backing up to pick up their teams, one by one, and scurrying back out of the harbor to prepare for the tournament. At a little after 7:00, the command to start the tournament came over the radio -- and I was reminded of images of the Oklahoma land rush as all the boats blasted off at full-throttle.

After several hours of trolling up and down along the Kona coast, we finally hooked up! Masa jumped in the chair and deftly reeled in a beautiful, 140 lb. marlin. With the help of expert leader work, George landed a perfect tag shot, and the fish was on its way!

By the end of the day, only a handful of boats had succeeded in catching marlin - and no other satellite tags were deployed. As we headed back to the hotel, George and I realized how lucky we were to have been able to get a tag out, and get the Race started!

Tomorrow morning we'll join one of the Laguna Niguel Billfish Club teams, aboard the Jun Ken Po, a 42' Bertram. We are looking forward to another exciting day at sea!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Travel Adventures

We're making final preparations for the race, but my day got off to a rocky start! When I got to the airport in Monterey I learned that the giant suitcase with all my video equipment was 14 lbs. too heavy! So I re-shuffled everything and made it through security, only to discover that my flight was canceled. Bummer! So I'm working at home, putting the final touches on the GMR website (how about Kate Spencer's cool logo!).

I'm now on a flight scheduled to leave around 1:00, which will put me in Kona around 7:00 tonight. Hopefully I'll get more work done on the flight, and there will be more cool stuff to read and see soon!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Getting Under Way!

We are in the final run-up to the race, making final preparations and getting all the pieces in place. James Ganong and I are working to get the web server up and running, and getting all the finishing pieces on the new GTOPP website, where the Great Marlin Race will live. It is very exciting, and we look forward to taking you with us on this journey!