By Capt. Dave Lear
June 6, 2012, Biloxi, Mississippi:
The 15th edition of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic is about to get underway with expectations of some really big fish coming to the scales later this week. Based at the Isle Casino Hotel in Biloxi, Mississippi, this year’s big-game contest will showcase the top sport fishing crews in the Gulf. With millions of dollars in cash prizes at stake, the fleet heads offshore to blue water on Thursday. Boats can put lines in right after the boat parade and fishing continues through late Saturday afternoon. The captains’ meeting and kick-off party is tonight.
“Fishing has been great the last couple of weeks,” says Danny Gorenflo, owner of Gorenflo’s Tackle at the Point Cadet Marina and a tournament sponsor. “There’s pretty blue water about 30 miles off the pass (the Mississippi River) with some nice rips. Good-sized tuna have been in close and a bunch of big wahoo up to 92 pounds were caught the last few days. Many boats will be heading out deep to the Green Canyon, while others will concentrate east around the Nipple and Spur. Either way it’ll be good times and great fishing, that’s for sure.”
Gorenflo says water temperatures in the central Gulf are running in the low 80-degree range. That’s perfect conditions for the marlin, tuna, dolphin and wahoo being targeted. Blue marlin must be at least 100 inches long to qualify, and game fish must weigh a minimum of 20 pounds. Smaller blues, white marlin and sailfish caught and successfully released qualify in the highly-competitive release division.
“It’s probably going to take a 700-pound blue marlin to win it,” Gorenflo predicts. “There haven’t been any reports of big dolphin yet, but I expect one pushing 50 pounds will be brought in. And don’t be surprised to see a 250-pound yellowfin, either, or maybe a giant bigeye tuna. Some really big ones are swimming around out there right now.”
Will these predictions come true? Time will tell. The scales are open from 3 p.m. until 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. So stay tuned as the fun–and excitement–gets started. Or, as they say in this part of the South, Laissez les bons temps rouler: Let the Good Times Roll!