Let the fishing begin! The 71 yacht fleet that makes up the 2007 Bay Point Billfish Invitational is now in the Gulf of Mexico.
The flare went up at 8 o'clock, signaling the start of the boat parade, and man what a sight! Millions upon millions in top of the line sport fishing yachts lined up and headed out in parade-like fashion, all under an impressive fireworks display at the Bay Point Marina. The majority of these boats can cruise comfortably at 25 to 30 knots. They hold 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of fuel, so there's really no limit to how far out in the Gulf they can fish.
Among the boats in this parade is one called the Bella Maria. It's a Destin boat owned by Wayne Lewis, and this afternoon we talked with him about starting this way and how this gets the adrenaline pumping for two days of big time, big money sport fishing!
"I think that's where it all culminates when you start out, where the adrenaline rush hits me the most is when there's a 600 pound blue marlin in the spread, then the adrenaline pumps. Then it's time to get it together, that's right, everybody's got to get it together, get on their game and get their job done. This is about the 7th one I've been to, so we're pretty excited about it. I've been working since about midnight last night, or actually about 8:30 till midnight, getting everything rigged out and all that sort of thing, and everybody on the team is excited, and we fish all these Gulf coast events, and this is obviously one of our favorites, so we're excited."
Well, it's so competitive and you have so many professional teams here that they're all competitive personalities, so everybody does what every they can to win in a legal way.
Again they are fishing for blue marlin, like the 998-pounder hauled in by Barry Varr of the "Sea Wolff" last year, that fish worth 232 grand for that team. They will also fish for tuna wahoo and dolphin, with a total prize purse of one million bucks up for grabs.
The weigh-ins are Friday and Saturday, 6-10 p.m. Saturday's weigh-ins will be webcast live on wjhg.com. Check that out if you can't make it out here.