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GT Masters Cup

April 14, 2013

This year the GT Masters attracted 289 anglers, and 101 of them signed up for the "Barbless Challenge". For this tournament, the minimum size for a qualifying catch is based on the L-50 size of the tournament's target species to promote sustainability. The organizers make it a point to explain their rules and in that way provide education to the public while letting them have fun. This year the largest fish weighed in was a whopping 100.4-lb white ulua caught by Preston Maze. The huge fish brought the audience to its feet, won the tournament, and for the first time ever took the $1000 bounty for a 100 pounder caught in the tournament. This large catch was just the icing on the cake as this year the tournament had the most fish caught and the most brought to the scales ever...but unfortunately none of those qualifying fish were caught on a barbless circle hook. That's fishing. There were barbless fish caught but they were too small to qualify. However, they were hung for all to see to pro- mote the project.

There were a lot of stories of the fish only biting on the barbed hooks. Ulua were hooked by the barbless anglers but lost. One angler who only used barbless circle hooks reported that he had a 60 lber ready to gaff when the line suddenly broke due to chafing on the rocks. Another long-time barbless angler said his estimated 50 lber was close to gaffing when his fishing partner was swept off the rocks by a big wave and he had to immediately cut the line and go save him. Interestingly there was one unusual fish caught. It looked to be a hybrid of a white ulua and an omilu. The angler reported that it had the coloration of an omilu on the posterior half of the dorsal portion of the body while alive and having the white ulua coloration and features in other parts. He immediately suspected a hybrid. Flesh samples were taken by the HIMB research project on omilu feeding guild identification (Jeff Drazen). The results on any DNA identification should be interesting. The suspected hybrid was disqualified from the competition by the tournament rules. There was also one recovery of a tagged oio and the UH Oio Tagging project was there to retrieve the tag and information.