19th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic wraps up

Published: Jun. 27, 2021 at 9:27 PM CDT
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) -The 19th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic wrapped up Sunday morning with a celebratory brunch at Hotel Effie.

At the brunch, crews gathered to receive their awards and checks from the $1.97 million dollar prize purse.

Some had already left town, but the majority were there to be honored. Including the crew of briar patch taking home $108,805 with the 3rd largest blue reeled in by angler, Jarret Johnson. That marlin weighing in at 411 pounds.

The crew of breath easy getting a check for $244,690 for getting 2,000 points for four blues caught and released, and the big winner for the week, the crew of “High Cotton” their angler, Cliff Mountain, bringing in the biggest blue of the tournament weighing 681 pounds. They took home a check for $394,436.

“It was an epic experience to relive in my mind,” said Mountain. “Nothing like catching a fish that size. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I’m hurting.”

For tournament director, Jason Draughn, the tournament went off without a hitch, but he says he couldn’t have done it alone.

“I mean, it takes all of Sandestin, all of the staff, outside contractors, to pull this event off, but I couldn’t be happier. Everyone pulls things together. They just love to be a part of this event.”

Mountain says he will be back.

“It was a wonderful experience. Beautiful. First time I’ve been here. Very fortunate that Mr. Bell invited me, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was a very nice, well run, tournament.”

Draughn was happy to see everything went smoothly.

“I’m very pleased and happy with how it came out. We weighed the fish in record time. Everybody was happy. The boaters were happy, the fishermen. The way we did it, I think we are going to continue to do it, and more to come.”

Next year, the 20th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic will be June 22-26, 2022. More results from this years tournament can be found here.

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