Panama City Beach, FL-- The big billfish season is still a few months away, but it's beginning to look like the big game tournaments in this area are going to have rather big years following last year's nightmarish oil spill scenario.
Take for instance the Bay Point Invitational. Though Bay Point did host a new event, the Sportfish Classic last September, there was no 2010 Billfish Invitational because of the B.P. spill in the Gulf. Some wondered if losing that and the entire 2010 Billfish tourney season might have a devestating long term effect, but that doesn't seem to be the case, with entries rolling in by early March.
Bay Point Inv. Director
"And 21 teams have prepaid for the Billfish Tournament in July. And that's not registered or indicated that they're gonna participate. That's 21 teams, 80 percent of them from out of town, that have prepaid to fish in the 2011 event. In the history of the event that's a record in terms of pre-registrations."
So it appears the spill instead of killing Bay Point and other fishing events, is going to have just the opposite effect.
"All indications show that there was pent up demand from last year, the boats are still here, they know the fishing is good. They've been out they caught fish, we caught fish last year. They've been out South Pass, they know the fish are there, they're gonna fish. They're gonna fish. We anticipate a very exciting year. I think we'll have a lot of boats. I'm truly intrigued by the amount of out of town boats that have already pre-registered and stepped up. I think all the tournaments will do well this year."
Scott says there are some major changes in store for the Invitational, and he adds the Sportfish Classic will be back, more on that later.