"Stop fishing" call came at 4:30 this afternoon, after a tough week of fishing. Although several large female blue marlin were caught, anglers were having a tough time finding the large numbers of smaller males that we've seen in years past. Because these smaller fish (i.e., under 300 lbs.) are quickly tagged and released, they are ideal candidates for the Great Marlin Race. But even with tags spread out among seven different boats for the past two days, we haven't had any luck getting more tags out.
The good news is that those tags that have already been sponsored will be deployed as quickly as possible in the days ahead, and all of them will remain in the race. Because the race is about the distance traveled, and all tags are programmed to stay on for the same length of time, everyone still has an equal shot at winning.
Although the fishing was a bit slower this year than last, it was really rewarding to see how much interest has grown in the Great Marlin Race over the past year. We saw anglers, boat captains and crew members sporting GMR tee shirts and caps, and we had a great turnout for Science Night where George Shillinger and I presented the results from the 2009 Race. We had several teams sponsor tags for a second time this year, and several other new teams and sponsors get in the Race for the first time.
We are grateful to everyone for their generous support. HIBT Founder and Director Peter Fithian and all the HIBT staff and volunteers have done an amazing job to make this an incredible event in its 51st year. The captains and boat crews were generous and accommodating to George and I - who don't tend to travel light between tags, poles, cameras, books, papers and laptops. And finally the anglers, who are willing to allocate precious time, space and attention to our project in the middle of a major tournament. You all have our deepest thanks for your patience and support.
This entry wouldn't be complete without a very special thanks to our friends Uki and Masa from the Kona Game Fishing Club Miyake, who endured our company four of the five days of tough, tough fishing. For their endless patience, good humor and enthusiastic support of the Great Marlin Race, we say 有難うございます。 (Arigatō gozai masu - or "thank you very much.")
We look forward to sharing the unfolding adventure of the 2010 Great Marlin Race.
Randy and George