Every March, Marlin hosts Marlin Madness, a virtual bracket-format tournament where fans from around the world vote for their favorite qualifying team from the previous year. Hosted by Blue Water Desalination, this year’s tournament began with 64 teams from four regions: East Coast, Florida, Gulf Coast, and International. Six weeks later, one team emerged victorious, garnering the most fan votes and progressing steadily through the rounds.
This year’s winning team, High Cotton, fishing aboard a 92-foot Viking, qualified by winning the 2021 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic in Sandestin, Florida, where they traveled from their home port in Texas to fish in the upper Gulf. Boat owner Pete Bell says: “Marlin is the go-to for worldwide fishing media. They not only provide great stories, but also great advertisers and vendors—it’s a class-act brand. We were thrilled to be nominated and compete for the March Madness win.”
The team, led by Capt. Allan Legge, has been together for 12 years. “I was referred to Allan by Galati Yacht Sales, and since then, he has assembled an incredible crew with guys like Billy Love and Bradley Fullen, who have about 60 years of experience between them,” Bell says.
“One of the most special things about our crew is that we aren’t just team members; we’re a big family that hangs out on the weekends and celebrates our kids’ birthdays together,” Legge says. “We were so honored to have been a part of this unforgettable experience. We went up against tough competition and couldn’t have succeeded without the help of some valuable people. Thank you to everyone behind the fishing team, from Pete to our Cotton family, Galati Yacht Sales, Viking, and many others.”
The High Cotton team had an exciting 2021, and they’re off to a great start this year as well. Immediately after winning Marlin Madness, the team returned to the Gulf Coast tournament circuit and won the Orange Beach Billfish Classic with the event’s largest blue marlin, weighing 642 pounds. Congratulations guys, and good luck this season!