Kona, Hawaii (September 15, 2017) – After moving in and out of the top spot on the leaderboard throughout the week, Surfside Marina – Team Miss Behavin wins the 2017 Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament. Team members include Captain David Finkelstein and anglers Stephen “Montauck” Weitzen and Jon Niiyama.
Surfside Marina – Team Miss Behavin is perhaps new to the iconic Kona fishing tournament but definitely not new to fishing. Coming to Kona to fish the HIBT has been a collective dream for this team and their tag and release on the final day sealed the win. Surfside Marina – Team Miss Behavin’s tag and release strategy kept them on the leaderboard all week and propelled the team to victory in its first appearance at the tournament.
On the final day of the tournament, Surfside Marina – Team Miss Behavin headed south aboard the 45-foot Silky. In under two hours, team captain David Finkelstein successfully tagged and released an estimated 125-pound Pacific blue marlin in an impressive 8 minutes. These valuable tag and release points secured their win for the Texas-based team.
“It was our team’s dream to fish this tournament. To come here the first time and win it is pretty special,” said David Finkelstein. Fellow angler Stephen Weitzen who earlier in the week garnered tag and release points for the team noted how special Kona is and the people that make this tournament happen. “The win hasn’t really sunk in yet, but we are so thrilled to have been a part of all of this.”
Surfside Marina – Team Miss Behavin topped the leaderboard with 1,300 points. Three teams finished with 900 points. Tournament judges break ties by determining which team got to 900 points first. Japan’s Core Marlin Club took second place, Old South Marlin Club – International in third place, and New Britain Game Fishing Club climbed the leaderboard to finish fourth.
Jeff Fay Wins Henry Chee Award For Fifth Time
Captain Jeff Fay will again be added to the coveted list of Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament Henry Chee Award recipients. The Henry Chee Award was established in 1965 to honor the charter boat captain upon whose vessel the most number of billfish points have been scored at HIBT.
Captain Jeff Fay, earning an impressive 1,700 points, rewrites the HIBT record book again by winning Henry Chee Award for the fifth time. Jeff Fay fished with his son and crewmember Brett Fay aboard the 37-foot Humdinger.
In second place Kila Kila’s Captain Brian Wargo earned 1,350 points and Ihu Nui I’s Captain McGrew Rice took third place with 1,100 points.
“To our elected officials and sponsors, thank you for continuing to support the Kona Coast as a world-class big game fishing destination. To the anglers from around the world who travel here to fish our famous waters, thank you for your competitive spirit. To the Hawaii Island community, thank you for sharing your aloha with the fishing world since 1959,” said HIBT founder Peter Fithian.
Next year’s 59th Annual Hawaiian International Billfish Tournament is slated for August 4 through 12, 2018. Anglers and teams are invited to apply for entry as a full tournament is anticipated. Learn more at www.hibtfishing.com.