(Scroll through the photo gallery at top to see all the winners.)
DESTIN, Fla. (June 25, 2013) - The 11th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, presented by Mojo Sportswear Company, took place June 19-23 at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, located in Florida's scenic Panhandle region.
The Classic's marlin record is safe for another year. The 11th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic concluded Sunday with one big blue and two truckloads of gamefish coming to the scales. With beautiful weather, a field of 70 boats and more than $1.4 million at stake, this year's edition was another resounding success, confirming the event's reputation as one of the best big-game tournaments in the world.
The solo marlin weighed was captured by angler Scott Cooper and his team aboard CE, a 65-foot Hatteras based in Point Clear, Alabama. The 613.4-pound fish earned the team $283,800 in several categories, including first place in the marlin division and a couple jackpot awards.
Testing the Water was the top release boat with 1,000 points for two blue marlin. The team won $39,525 for its efforts. Breathe Reel Deep came in second place in the Release Division with a blue and a white marlin based on time, followed by Committed with four sailfish. The second and third places paid $106,515 and $114,570, respectively, based on team standings and jackpot entries.
The hotly-contested top tuna mark was won this year by Kate Ferrara aboard Reel Fire. Ferrara outlasted a 164.1-pound yellowfin to capture first place. The lady angler and her Grand Isle, Louisiana-based team won $96,073 for that fish. Spike Lord on Ms. Castle, a local Destin boat, pocketed $27,980 for his 163.7-pound tuna, while Jonathan Guarisco on Trust Fun rounded out the field with a 144.4-pound fish. Trust Fun earned $7,253 for its catch.
Steve Bozeman on Restitution III had the biggest wahoo for this year. His 55.5-pounder was good for a check totaling $26,773. Caroline Powell, fishing aboard Trader's Hill, was second in the species category (49.6 pounds), earning $64,880 for the fish award and jackpots, while Lucky 2 and angler Fred Dobbs came in third place. That pay-off totaled $18,300.
Ryan Engquist and his team aboard Chasin' Tail topped the dolphin leader board. Their 51.3 pound fish was worth $141,838 when all the jackpots were added in. Dane Hunter and Team Cazador captured second-place honors to earn $30,511 and Sea Wolff was third with a 41-pounder, good for $51,229.
Several other teams won nice paydays based on entries into the optional cash categories. These jackpots can be very lucrative depending on the number of teams participating and the levels. Amarula Sun scored $43,312 in several marlin release jackpots. Iona Louise did the same by weighing a 114.3-pound yellowfin to earn $22,995. Wynsong won $23,355 with both dolphin and wahoo jackpots, while You Never Know! cashed in with two tuna worth a total of $63,135.
Deb Hebert on Iona Louise was declared the top lady angler for 2013 based on her points tally overall. Fourteen-year-old Parker Green won the top junior angler title by releasing one blue marlin aboard Testing the Water.
"It was another awesome event," says Tournament Director Shawna Harris. "We had one big blue come to the scales, 32 billfish caught and a new tournament record in the number of gamefish weighed. The weather couldn't have been better and our 449 anglers had a fun time. I look forward to seeing everyone back again next season."
The 12th Annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin is scheduled for June 18-22, 2014, once again at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Florida.
For more news visit www.fishecbc.com.