If you surf the Internet to the 46th Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament (HIBT), homepage you will come across the following simple sentence about its history:
"HIBT is one of the oldest Billfish tournaments in existence today!!!"
Some people may think that this sentence is too short for the 46 years of HIBT history. While I don't disagree with this opinion, I feel that its unnecessary to write anything more.
Recently, HIBT is one of the few top billfish trophy tournaments in the world. If you were to get 1st place, your prize would be a small plain trophy to honor the memory of your team's efforts. Yet, this honor is for eternity. Why? Because your name and the name of your fishing club would be engraved on one of the silver plates found on the HIBT Memorial Sculpture that is kept in the lobby of the King Kamehameha Kona Beach Hotel. There it will be for all to see, and I should think that looking at it would make you feel very proud.
This honor goes to not only the angler's team that finally won after five days of extreme struggle, but also to someone else. Who is this very important person? Well, it's the captains of their charter boats. All skippers are chosen by chance in the boat draw by one member from each team. I know these captains are all professionals in the year-round charter boat business, but I also know they aren't in HIBT only for the paycheck. They always try their best to help their anglers and fight at their sides to get the biggest billfish. Up to this point, they will have devoted many hours to gather all the right fishing information.
I don't know how the officials decide who will be the captains of the charter boats for the competition. All in all, it can't be easy to be selected from all the captains on the Big Island. The skipper of " The Huntress", with whom our True Blue Fishing Club spent one day of the 46th HIBT, told us--- "The HIBT is such a tournament (to fishing) as the US Open (is to golfing)! This impressive remark was his felicitous way to express the aloha spirit of HIBT. It also made us keenly aware of the high level of concentration and how motivated all these captains must be.
The Skippers suggest strategies for the day's fishing like the partner of a doubles match in tennis, or a caddie who knows everything about a golf course. Skippers of the HIBT are not just providing transport in much the same way as caddies are more than just bag carriers. They know this Hawaiian sea and the billfish inside out with a knowledge gained through long and hard hands-on experience. I know that each angler seeks achievement by means of his own tactics and methods. So, I can understand when someone is seized by the desire to do it one's own way. Consider the fact, though that these tournaments are won by teamwork. So, if you want to enjoy your fishing and get good results, you should follow the captain's suggestions. To do so shows your respect for him and will make for better communication, as you will be able to concentrate together on the gamefishing. In which case---fishing as a hobby---will sublimate into a cultural relationship that is created by the combined efforts of each of the participants.
If you were to take part in HIBT, you would be surprised by the simple, yet, dignified service provided by all members of the staff. What with all the parties and meeting with such great fellowship should be enough to satisfy the feelings of anyone who joins in. And some of the parties, for example, "Old South Night" and "Bermuda Night" are sponsored by teams as a show of "thanks". Surely, the adventure and pleasure that you could get catching billfish will be the right common ground for getting to know the other teams. You will soon forget that these partygoers are your rivals. We Japanese have never experienced such a feeling at our billfishing tournaments.
All the current billfishing tournaments around the world come from the HIBT cradle. To join in the HIBT means to visit the home of trophy billfishing. This means that HIBT is not just a tournament to enter but a birthplace to revisitc To go back to one's hometown where all are family and friends, not rivals.
It's my suggestion to all Japanese Billfishers that we should go back to our hometown again, at least once. And we, of the True Blue F.C., promise to go back again to HIBT with the idea for "Japan Night"