20th Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin kicks off

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 11:35 PM CDT
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SANDESTIN, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The 20th Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is now officially underway.

Wednesday, the event kicked off with around 90 big-time sportfishing teams signing up.

They’re coming from all across the region, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Several Destin, Sandestin, Panama City, and Panama City Beach-based teams are among them.

All have converged on the Baytowne Marina as they load up and prepare to hit the gulf on Thursday.

“Lots of prep with this tournament. Takes a whole army. I just want to think the staff for getting out here and making this thing happen. So yeah prep for the tournament. We’re looking at Wednesday, tomorrow’s our shotgun start at 12 p-m. So we got the boats trickling in. They’ve been coming in since last week. So you know, boats are getting fueled up, getting back to their slips. Getting hydrated, getting coolers stocked, getting baits ready. So it’s hustle and bustle here at Baytowne Marina,” Jonathan Boone, ECBC Tournament Director said.

After gearing up the boats, the teams took part in a kickoff party Wednesday night in the ballroom at Hotel Effie at Sandestin.

With a ton of good food, live music, and camaraderie, there was something for everybody to enjoy.

”We really appreciate everybody at Sandestin. Julia and Jason, and you know the Marina change. The rebuild of the Marina is incredible. Everything about it is getting better and better and even changing the tournament. The way they’re getting the fish off the boat. You know a little thing like that really makes the tournament that much better and I want to commend all those people because they’re doing a great job,” Jeff Shoults, 20-time competitor and the Captain of Destin-based “Mollie” said.

The teams head out from the marina at 11 AM on Thursday and will hit the gulf at noon for two days of fishing.

Teams are looking to claim well over 1 to 5 million dollars in prize money this year. Those weigh-ins are set for Friday and Saturday starting at 4 PM.

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