The Mongo Offshore Challenge is a five-month winner-take-all quest to catch the largest blue marlin, swordfish, tuna, wahoo and mahi of the season in the Gulf of Mexico, and now for 2022, it will include a division for the East Coast of the United States, with both divisions using the same tournament format.
Teams fishing the Mongo check out before departing on a trip by using the tournament’s mobile app, which allows the participants to view who is fishing in real time. Teams also use the app to score fish that meet the challenging minimum-size limits, which also happen to be the highest in the industry.
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The Mongo promotes catch-and-release and updates the leaderboard daily so teams can “let the small ones go so they can grow,” utilizing a network of official weigh stations located throughout the regions, as well as official weights taken from approved big-game tournaments throughout the season.
The 2021 Mongo fleet consisted of 132 teams—53 of them center-consoles—fishing in five Gulf states and logging more than 55,000 fishing hours, which resulted in some extremely impressive wins this past season.
Blue Marlin, 793 pounds
It Just Takes Time, Viking 72 | Winnings: $112,625
Capt. Chris Hood and owner/angler Nick Pratt caught this respectable fish on June 13 during the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, beating out Chasin’ Tail’s 681.9-pound blue weighed on August 21, which was caught during a fun trip out of Orange Beach, Alabama—a fish that topped High Cotton’s 681-pounder caught during the Emerald Coast Billfish Classic.
Swordfish, 271.9 pounds
Fleur de Lis, Viking 80 | Winnings: $26,775
Capt. Scooter Porto, mate/angler Zac Taylor and the Fleur de Lis team landed their winning broadbill during a late-season fun-fishing trip, just one day before the Mongo tournament ended on September 30, beating the 40-foot Invincible Game Plan III’s 258-pounder that had been holding the top spot since late May. The 2020 swordfish winner, Titan Up, also boated a late-season September sword that weighed 254 pounds.
Yellowfin Tuna, 231.1 pounds
Quick Time, Viking 70 | Winnings: $56,100
Capt. Wilks Hammock and owner/angler Robert Burroughs weighed in their huge yellowfin on June 26 during the Emerald Coast Billfish Classic, besting the 60-foot Hatteras team, Get Reel, which weighed a 191-pounder in May.
Wahoo, 85.3 pounds
Intense, Contender 44 | Winnings: $34,000
Team Intense caught the Mongo’s winning wahoo out of Mississippi during the King Master tournament on June 5 to beat out the 56-foot Ocean Yacht team, Breathe Reel Deep, which weighed a 73-pound fish in July.
Dolphin, 44.6 pounds
C-Student, Viking 66 | Winnings: $61,625
Capt. Ken Blackman, owner/angler Keeley Megarity and the C-Student team won big with a 44.6-pound Louisiana mahi caught during the Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic tournament on June 5, to bump a 40-pounder caught by the 54-foot Hatteras team, Booyah, from the top spot.
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The 2021 Mongo tournament doubled in size from the 2020 season, and even bigger things are expected for 2022, with an added East Coast division that will include Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Cape Canaveral, Florida; both divisions will run simultaneously from May 1 through September 30.
The Mongo format is designed by competitors for competitors, and is intended to help level the playing field and attract more teams to compete by allowing teams to fish when they want and as often as they want. Regardless of weather or moon phase, this tournament adds excitement by making every leader, crimp, fight, wire job and gaff shot matter.
Registration for 2022 opens on February 1. For more information, please visit mongooffshore.com.
This article originally appeared in the February 2022 print issue of Marlin.