The large billfish in West Hawaii waters gravitated toward Marlin Magic on Wednesday, making for Old South Marlin Club Team 4’s banner day and a quick rise to the top of the leaderboard.
The North Carolina fishing team boated a 638-pound blue marlin, then tagged and released three others to vault into first place at the Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament.
Old South Marlin Club has 2,850 points — well ahead of Japan’s Kona Game Fishing Club-Taiyo (1,568) and New Zealand’s Bay of Islands Swordfish Club-Striker (1,428).
The five-day fishing tournament continues through Friday in West Hawaii waters.
Ken Onion highlighted Old South Marlin Club’s big day, hooking his 638-pounder on 80-pound test line with just 5 minutes left in his deck rotation on the fighting chair.
“This is my largest fish ever,” said Onion, who fished with Capt. Jason Holtz. “It’s unbelievable.”
Longtime Kona angler Sue Vermillion followed Onion’s catch by tagging and releasing an estimated 150-pound blue. Then Steve Gunther reeled in two more marlin — a 120-pounder and a 150-pounder — in a half-hour time frame.
Bay of Islands Swordfish Club-Strike also made a charge up the leaderboard, with Viki Smith hauling in a 584-pound marlin on 50-pound test aboard Lightspeed, giving the team valuable bonus points.
Alii Brothers Marlin Hui’s Dan Holt also had a notable catch on 50-pound test, nabbing a 250-pound blue aboard Bwana for his Hawaii/California team.