PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla- The first ever Sportfish Classic kicked off with Thursday’s captain's party at 30 degree blue adjacent to the Bay Point Marina.

35 boats have signed up so far for this first time event subsidized by the Tourist Development Council to promote September fishing. Certainly the teams lining up because the fishing in the Gulf has been so good in recent tournaments along the coast.

"It was amazing, after the Labor Day tournament, our phones lit up. Everybody knew, they were talking, they saw the fish, they saw spearfish, which is an almost an anomaly for us.” Sportfish Classic Director Scott Burt said. “And there were several seen and released during the Labor Day tournament, so word spread like wildfire. The fish are there, the water's beautiful, the weed lines are there, the fish are biting. Same thing happened with the Poor man’s tournament shortly thereafter. Again abundant species, Tuna, Wahoo, Dolphin, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Sailfish. Across the board there's fish out there."

The Fleet departs for two days of fishing on Friday at 2 o'clock. Weigh-Ins run from 7 to 10 p.m. on Saturday at the Bay Point Marina.

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