After the hectic pace of yesterday, Saturday morning is proving to be fairly quiet among the fleet of 60 boats fishing the Classic. Many are beyond normal radio range, however, so the reports coming in to tournament control are limited. So far this morning Top Gun and Freedom have reported successful billfish releases.
Tico Time, which boated an estimated 109-inch blue marlin yesterday but opted to remain offshore, will be in later today to weigh the fish.
The scales open at 4 p.m and will remain open until 11 p.m. The boats must stop fishing at 6 p.m. If they are inside the channel markers by 11, they will still be eligible to weigh their catch.
Because of the long-distance runs to blue water, the majority of participants stayed offshore. Eligible blue marlin, tuna, wahoo and dolphin, are iced down and stored in insulated fish bags to keep from losing valuable weight. Marlin must meet a 100-inch minimum length, while the game fish have to be at least 20 pounds to qualify.
Typically Saturday evening is a bustling time at the scales as the returning boats offload their catch. The weigh scales, next to the host Isle Hotel and Casino at the Point Cadet Marina, attracts huge crowds of family members, friends and local residents. Food, beverages and live entertainment contribute to a party atmosphere as fish weighing hundreds of pounds are hoisted aloft. Classic contestants are vying for more than $1 million in prize money and fish breaking existing state records qualify for additional prizes.