Destin, FL---The 2014 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is making event history. It's purse has risen to $1.68 million dollars, the most prize money ever up for grabs in the 12 year history of the ECBC.
Thursday afternoon, 77 tournament boats paraded out of the Baytowne Marina at Sandestin, cruising through Choctawhatchee Bay, under the Mid-Bay bridge, then left towards the Destin Pass.
At 3 PM, the start signal sent boats throttling through the Gulf, each hoping their strategy, planning, prep would all come together.
"We start weeks before the tournament watching the patterns with the weather," says "Testing the Waters" owner Pat Byrne. "We subscribe to several satellite services, which give us surface temperatures, altimetry, current, water color. We watch that for weeks before the tournament. We watch for trends."
"It's a challenge, that's what's so fun about this sport" says Joe Hudson, owner of the "Iona Louise". "You go out and try to figure out where the fish are, watch you're gonna do, how you're gonna catch them. And sometimes you get them and sometimes you don't. There's no guarantees in this at all. It's just the risk you take."
First weigh-in is set for Friday from 4 to 10 PM at the Baytowne Marina, the same spot and same time as Saturday.