January 06, 2017; Biloxi, Mississippi:
By Capt. Dave Lear
In the sport of fencing, En Garde is the French warning for participants to be on their guard and ready for action. But for the contestants suiting up for the 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic June 5-11, this notice also represents the tip of the sword, literally. A new division and other golden opportunities mean plenty of chances to win big prizes for those willing to play.
Adding a Swordfish Division is the most significant change on tap for the 2017 tournament. Included as part of the $5,000 base entry fee, the team with the heaviest fish to break the existing Mississippi state swordfish record (currently only 75 pounds) will win $100,000 from the Classic, plus a Titan pickup truck from Petro Nissan.
But that’s not all! Here’s what else a boat could win with that swordfish: If there is a registered Hilton’s Realtime-Navigator chart user among the team, that’s worth an extra $50,000. If the sword is caught on a Killer Bee bait, a Poseidon rod or landed with a Marsh Tacky Carbon gaff, that adds another $25,000 each to the wallet. And if the new record fish is caught aboard a Freeman catamaran, it’ll be worth yet another $100,000. So if all parameters are met, the new record swordfish would earn an overall $325,000 payout on the base entry alone. The catch must be made according to Mississippi Department of Marine Resources record-catch guidelines, not IGFA guidelines. Teams can also enter up to four optional swordfish categories ($500 to $5,000) to potentially win more money if they choose. Teams will depart Point Cadet Marina on Thursday June 8, 2017 at noon and must return within the designated markers by 8pm Saturday June 10, 2017. The fishing boundaries are the Gulf of Mexico. You must use conventional tackle and NO electric reels, drills or harpoons.
As of early January more than 68 boats had requested slips for tournament week with many more to come. The added swordfish division will surely attract new players as well. So what are you waiting for? En Garde!
Click on the image below for the 2017 MGCBC swordfish promotional payouts.