Miramar Beach, FL---We're now just over a week away from the 12th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. That billfish tournament, which takes place at Sandestin's Baytowne Marina, is now past the number of boats that took part last year.
Some 71 boats have already signed up to fish this year's ECBC, we saw 70 boats participate last year.
So the trend of getting back towards 75 boats or more continues. The oil spill back in 2010 put a dent in big time fishing tournaments along the Gulf, ECBC included.
Adam Alfonso is the event's new Tournament Director, and he's pleased with how things are heading as next week's tournament approaches.
"So far I'd say it's been pretty smooth sailing. I would go on to say we really haven't had very many challenges. In prior years of course, one of the main challenges would be, we're 100 percent dependent on the weather. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that we are going to have great weather here at Sandestin and in the Gulf for the week of the tournament."
With 71 boats on board, and teams averaging some $20,000 per in terms of investing in the prize purse, it's safe to say the ECBC will easily top $1 million in cash payouts.
And it seems the fishing in the Gulf is good in terms of Blue Marlin right now. This past weekend 3 big blues were weighed at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic in Biloxi, including an 843 pounder, caught by a lady angler, Deb Hebert. Deb fishing aboard a boat called Iona Louise that will also be fishing the ECBC. The boats depart next Thursday, weigh-ins are Friday and Saturday.