Fleet of boats in the 18th ECBC closer to hitting the Gulf
SANDESTIN, Fla. (WJHG) -The 18th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is closer to beginning, at least in terms of the fishing!
More than 80 teams have signed up and are competing for what is now a prize purse at more than $1.1 million dollars. That amount is expected to go up with more optional wagering set for Thursday morning, before the fleet departs. To say the least, the anglers and crews who are participating are anxious to get in the Gulf of Mexico Thursday. Many of them fished the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic last week and were part of an event that set a new record in terms of billfish caught and released, with more than 100 tallied at that tournament.
Jeff Shoults, the captain of the Destin based “Mollie” told us he could not believe how good the fishing was in that Biloxi tournament!
“And we had a tropical storm that came through and pushed that the low pressure came through and pushed all the fish away from the Mississippi River over to us, it was basically a perfect storm not only that we had a full moon, made the fish bite, everybody did fantastic. If we had boats, the top boat I think they were 10 for 12. Second place was Chase Lake, he was eight for 10. So not only were they seeing a lot of fish they were catching a lot of blue marlins because they were biting. We had three boats that had seven, two boats that had sex, it was just a phenomenal weekend. And we are excited about getting back out there especially when the weather is going to be as pretty as it is now.”
All of the tournament boats docked at the Baytowne Marina at Sandestin Wednesday. The team captains taking part in a meeting Wednesday evening to brush up on the rules. All the teams then invited to a beachside cookout.
The fleet departs at noon Thursday in a boat parade. They will fish Thursday and into Friday with weigh ins Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. The weigh ins Saturday are from 4 to 10. The public is invited to watch the weigh ins. Those at the resort can also watch the weigh ins on monitors throughout the Village of Baytowne Wharf that are being set up to help people keep some distance from each other.
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