The 56th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is happening all this week. The 31 teams head out each morning with three wishes. They are hoping for lots of action, a big fish or two, and five smooth days with no problems from Hurricane Hilda. Last week’s success stories may forecast this week’s results.
First the storm. Last week, Hurricane Guillermo was the big threat but it followed a now-familiar path by veering to the north of the islands, weakening, and leaving the Kona Coast alone. Hilda is expected to pass south of the islands on a weakened path and leave Kona with nothing but showers.
How about big fish and lots of action? Yes, there was a big-fish story on Friday to encourage tournament hopefuls.
Co-captains James Dean and Ryan Thurner had Jeff Jackson and his mother Diane aboard Blue Hawaii that day. (It was August 7, which may matter only if you are superstitious. James is and says he likes fishing on days 7 and 11. We’ll see if that holds up this week.)
Jeff’s father, whose nickname was “Action Jackson,” had managed a marina in Destin, Florida before he passed on in 2012 and loved to make his own lures. “AJ” had always wanted to catch a blue marlin but it never happened for him because Destin isn’t Kona. This trip on the 7th was destined to bring a catch Jeff could dedicate to his dad’s goal.