Monday, July 19, 1999

Boy’s event-winning
catch nets $4,275 for team

By Alisa LaVelle


Nine-year-old, 98-pound Brandon Llames landed a 150-pound Pacific Blue marlin last week that took his team to victory.

The fourth-grader's catch pushed his team, Puka Kai, from third to first to win the World Billfish Tournament in Kailua-Kona on Wednesday. This is a different tournament from the established Hawaii International Billfish Tournament held in Kailua-Kona.

The son of a charter boat captain, Llames has been fishing since he was 3. But this was his first fishing contest and the first marlin he had caught. It took him one hour and 28 minutes to reel in his catch.

"It was hard work," Llames said. "I thought I couldn't fight it (the fish) because it was big."

Llames attends Kealakehe Elementary and stands about 4 feet 6 inches tall.

His teammate, Kay Kolt, said she knew the boy would make a difference.

"I told Bob Beaddler (owner of the boat), 'Let's take the little squirt because he's better than me, and I fish all over,'" Kolt said. Kolt has fished in Costa Rican, South American, Mexican and Alaskan waters.

Beaddler and Llames' parents agreed to let the boy enter the Light-Tackle Shootout. The event, held July 12-14, limited tackles to between 12- and 30-pound test. It was an all-species, double elimination event.

"Youth and parents could participate, and Brandon was the only son signed up," said Mike Nelson, executive director of the event, which benefited junior anglers of the International Game Fish Association.

"We were trying to introduce to Hawaii an exciting and challenging competition," Nelson said. "Light tackle requires more finesse."

The Puka Kai team takes home a purse of $4,275. Legends of Sport Fishing took second place, and the Full Scale team got third.

"Some of the money goes into a scholarship for the boy through First Hawaiian Bank," Nelson said.

Llames took home the Outstanding Angler Award, which came with a 24-karat marlin pendant with a diamond eye, made by Big Island Jewelers.

The producers of the event decided to give him a special trophy called the Brandon Llames Junior Angling Award.

"The award will always bear his name," Nelson said.

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