When ranking tournaments, the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament in Kona, Hawaii came up with a perfect score in August of 2015.  In it’s 56th year the tournament attracted 30 plus teams from Hawaii, California, New Zealand, Africa, Japan, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, China, and Vanuatu, to name a few.  According to Peter Fithian, currently in his 6th decade as HIBT convener, every team in the competition had points on the Leaderboard by the end of stop fishing on day 5. 

2015 HIBT Day One: Fishing began at 7:30AM on Monday, August 10, 2015 with the threat of a hurricane on the horizon to heighten the already high competitive tension among the teams.  There were 36 point earning fish captured on day one, including over 30 Pacific Blue Marlin.  Most fish were tagged and released, but Makoto Yeagashi of Japan’s Kona Game Fishing Club, boated a 573lb. (260kg) blue marlin caught on 50lb. (24kg) line aboard the Ihu Nui with Capt. Rice.  The light tackle earned the team extra points and the lead at the end of the first day of fishing.

2015 HIBT Day One Results
Kona GFC Kusatsu 964 Ihu Nui 964
Laguna Niguel Billfish Club 800 TopShape 800
Nanhai Lang Tao Club 700 Kona Seafari 700
Mermaids Anglers Club 600 Northern Lights II 700
Kona GFC Olympian Dream 550 Hooked Up 550
Sunshine Coast GFC 550 Bite Me 3 550

2015 HIBT Day Two: of the HIBT began with flat seas typical of the Kona coast, the protected lee side of the Big Island of Hawaii, and still no effect from the approaching hurricane.  Again the fishing was excellent with many marlin tagged and released and several intense battles with large ahi (yellow fin tuna) on light tackle.  Rold Czabayski from South Australia’s GFC team boated a 164.5lb (74.6kg) ahi (yellow fin tuna) caught on 50lb. line aboard the ??????, the largest tuna of the tournament so far, putting the Sunshine Coast team into first place.  Following closely behind Australian’s Sunshine Coast was second place Team Likeke Club with angler, Rich Wilson’s 447lb. blue marlin caught aboard Capt. Ryan Foster’s Dojo on 50lb. test line. 

2015 HIBT Day Two Results
Sunshine Coast GFC 1,688 Illusions 1,645
Team Likeke Club 1,495 Ihu Nui 1,564
Kona GFC 1,264 Northern Lights II 1,000
Nanhai Lang Tao Club 1,000 Topshape 900
Mermaids Anglers Club 900 Hooked Up 550

2015 HIBT Day Three: One marlin and one ahi were boated by New Zealand Ahipara GFC aboard Capt. Jim Wigzell’s Hooked Up on Wednesday.  Daryl Bradley of New Zealand hooked his marlin shortly before the stop fishing signal and battled the 408lb. tail wrapped fish for over two hours before boating it.  13 other fish were tagged and released and the tournament lead switched among Australia, Japan, and USA as the day progressed. By 4:30PM Team Likeke pulled into first place on the Leaderboard only 207 points ahead of Australia’s Sunshine Coast Game Fishing Club.

Bradley’s 408lb (185.15kg) marlin was caught on 80lb line (37kg) and team member Mark Gurr from the Bay of Island Swordfish Club in Russell, NZ landed his 157lb ahi (72.2kg) on 50lb (24kg) line, moving Wigzell’s Hooked Up into the fourth place for top boat of the tournament.

2015 HIBT Day Three Results
Team Likeke Club 1,895 Illusionsp 1,745
Sunshine Coast GFC 1,688 Ihu Nui 1,564
Kona GFC Kusatsu 1,564 Northern Lights II 1,300
Nanhai Lang Tao Club 1,300 Hooked Up 1,050
New Britain GFC 1,150 Kona Blue 950

2015 HIBT Day Four: Perfect weather conditions continued as the approaching hurricane  lost power and was downgraded to a tropical storm.  Claire Duke of Australia’s Sunshine Coast team caught the largest tuna of the tournament on Thursday, a 191 lb yellow fin tuna.  Duke, fishing with 50lb (24kg) line, reeled the tuna to the Vixen within 35 minutes.

Team New Britain of Papua New Guinea launched themselves into third place by tagging and releasing two Pacific Blue Marlin.  There were a total of 16 blue marlin and one spearfish tagged and released on day four.   Team Likeke managed to hold on to their lead over Australia’s Sunshine Coast.

2015 HIBT Day Four Results
Team Likeke Club 2,195 Hooked Up 1,658
Sunshine Coast GFC 1,988 Illusions 1,645
New Britain GFC 1,700 Northern Lights II 1,600
Kona GFC Kusatsu 1,614 Ihu Nui 1,564
Nanhai Lang Tao Club 1,600 Kona Blue 1,550

2015 HIBT Day Five: It was still anyone’s contest on Friday, August 14, 2015, the last day of the 56th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.  Only a matter of a few hundred points separated the top ranked teams.

2nd place Sunshine Coast GFC from South Australia and Japan’s 4th place Kusatsu teams both tagged and released blue marlin on the last day of fishing.  First place team Likeke hooked into a small spearfish and tagged it.  At the end of the day, that small spearfish captured the winner’s trophy for Rick Wilson’s Team Likeke from the mainland USA, giving them a scant 7 point lead over Australia’s 2nd place Sunshine Coast Game Fish Club.  Japan’s Kusatsu (Kona Game Fishing Club) finished a solid 3rd.

The 56th HIBT was action packed from start of fishing on Monday, August 10th – to the very last minutes before stop fishing on Friday, August 14, 2015.  Next year’s 57th annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament promises to be just as exciting and even more well attended.   The 57th  HIBT begins with a silent auction and fishing lure expo on Saturday, July 30, 2016 and ends with a winner’s celebration on Friday, August 6, 2016.

2015 HIBT Day Five Results
Team Likeke Club 2,296 Illusions 2,445
Sunshine Coast GFC 2,289 Northern Lights II 2,000
Kona GFC Kusatsu 2,114 Ihu Nui 1,764
Mermaids Anglers Club 2.100 Hooked Up 1,658
Nanhai Lang Tao Club 1,700 Kona Blue 1,550
New Britain GFC 1,700 TopShape 1,450

Winner’s Trophy for Rick Wilson’s Team Likeke

More Information
Tournament Top Teams
Team # 29 USA
2,296 POINTS
Captain Rich Wilson
Angler Tony Crabbe
2,289 POINTS
Captain Brent Higgins
Angler Barry Higgins
Angler Peter Bain
Team # 7 TAIYO – JAPAN
2,114 POINTS
Captain Masaharu Matsushita
Angler Mieko Matsushita
Angler Takeo Izawa
Team # 20 KALAOA – JAPAN
2,100 POINTS
Captain Sachiko Saegusa
Angler Kohichiro Saegusa
Angler Shuji Koizumi
Team # 31 CHINA
1,700 POINTS
Captain Wang Ya Fei
Angler Zhang Jian Hua
Angler Zhang Lei
Angler Xin Wang Hai
1,700 POINTS
Captain John Lau
Angler Richard Wong
Angler Vaughan Schultz
Angler Brett Carter
Tournament Top Boats
Illusions – Topaz 39'
2,445 POINTS
Captain Tim Hicks
Mates Chris Kam
Mates Jordan Kilkenny
Contact 808 960-7371
Northern Lights II
Buddy Davis 47'
2,000 POINTS
Captain Kevin Nakamaru
Mates Kyle Vanatta
Mates Dana Boardman
Contact 808 960-1549
Ihu Niu – Monterey 45'
1,764 POINTS
Captain McGrew Rice
Mates Carlton Arai
Mates Jennifer Rice
Contact 808 960-1424
Hooked Up – Uniflite 40'
1,658 POINTS
Captain Jim Wigzell
Mates Rij Daughty
Mates Zac Wigzell
Contact 808 960-5877
Kona Blue – Hatteras 53'
1,550 POINTS
Captain David Crawford
Mates Mike Dakil
Mates Jonah Marks
Contact 808 960-6064
TopShape – Cabo 43'
1,450 POINTS
Captain John Bagwell
Mates Tobin Hudgins
Mates Steve Petras
Contact 808 938-0706
Related Videos
Tournament – Day 1

Tournament – Day 2

Tournament – Day 3

Tournament – Day 4

Tournament – Day 5

Second Place Awards
Sunshine Coast GFC
Sunshine Coast GFC