April 11, 2017; Biloxi, Mississippi:
By Capt. Dave Lear
The countdown has begun. With less than two months before the start of the 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic the hook files are out, fresh line is going on reels and the gaffs are ready. If advance dock buzz is a barometer, this year’s event will be one for the record books.
“As of early April we have more than 120 boats committed to fish the Classic,” says Tournament Director Bobby Carter. “That’s great news and we will gladly register more. The Point Cadet Marina is now fully booked for tournament week, but there are still plenty of slips available in the area. The Biloxi Boardwalk and Palace Casino Marinas on the back bay still have openings, plus there’s even more at the Island View Casino and Hotel and the Gulfport Marina, which are adjacent to each other. Ocean Springs Harbor is another option. All are within a short drive of tournament headquarters at the Golden Nugget Resort. So don’t let that stop you from fishing one of the top big-game tournaments in the world and missing out on millions in prize money.”
The swordfish division is one of the reasons why registration is so brisk. The tournament and several key sponsors are offering special payouts for the boat with the heaviest fish to break the Mississippi swordfish record. If all criteria is met, the record-breaking fish can earn up to $325,000 in promotional prize money, a Nissan Titan pick-up, plus payouts from optional categories entered. The swordfish must be landed according to Mississippi record guidelines on a conventional rod and reel. No electric reels or harpoons may be used. A Mississippi saltwater fishing license will be required.
The MGCBC has been the setting of several record catches over the past 20 years. Three new benchmarks for tuna were established (bluefin, yellowfin and bigeye). And in 2002 Barry Carr, fishing aboard Sea Wolff, brought a 1,054.6-pound blue marlin to the Point Cadet scales. That fish shattered the existing state record and was also the largest ever for the Gulf of Mexico. Carr’s blue is still the record today.
So will 2017 be the year of the swordfish? The odds for a 76-pound plus sword are excellent. But another monster tuna or blue marlin could just as easily hit the docks too. In the MGCBC anything is possible and in less than two months we’ll know for sure. Sign up now and get ready for the historic blast-off!
For more information on other marina availability on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, please contact:
Biloxi Boardwalk Marina
Harbormaster: Jerry Adkerson
Harbormaster: George Manemann
Island View Casino and Hotel
Ocean Springs Harbor
Harbormaster: Danny Jalanivich