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Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Poised for New Records

May 1st, 2019

ECBC logo 300x118 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Poised for New Records
ECBCStart 300x169 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic Poised for New Records

Photo credit: Capt. Dave Lear

With just over a month until the kick-off of the 17th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic, boat registrations for this world-class fishing event are on pace to eclipse previous highs. The final field is expected to top 100 teams and if that does happen, a new $2.5 million dollar-plus benchmark in cash prizes would be established. The ECBC is hosted by the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and presented by Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore, AL. The tournament runs June 19-23, 2019.

“At the current pace of registrations, I’m confident we’ll exceed our 100-boat goal,” says Tournament Director Adam Alfonso. “And when we do, we’re likely to exceed last year’s overall record purse of $2 million as well. We have another great group of sponsors to help us celebrate 17 years and lots of activities to make the entire week a memorable one.” The Early Bird deadline for registering for the tournament is May 31.

The 2019 tournament will again make a strong statement for marine conservation. In the Gulf of Mexico the federal minimum length for boating a blue marlin is 99 inches. For ECBC anglers blue marlin must be at least 110 inches long to qualify in the weight division. That minimum is measured from the tip of the fish’s lower jaw to the fork of the tail. This increase in length will ensure the release of marginal marlin and result in only true trophies coming to the scales at Baytowne Marina.

“Raising the minimum length requirement was an easy decision,” Alfonso says. “The ECBC has been committed to conservation since the beginning and this new rule will ensure these magnificent fish are here for future generations. As a result, fewer fish will be sacrificed and those that are boated will truly reflect the caliber and skills of our contestants.” Can’t Deny It, the 2018 ECBC champion, took top honors with a blue marlin that was 118.5 inches and weighed 699.2 pounds.

In addition to the blue marlin weight division, smaller blues, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish that are successfully released earn points in the competitive release division. Releases are verified by video footage. Yellowfin, bigeye and blackfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin are scored one point per pound. The ECBC attracts multi-million dollar sport-fishing boats from across the Gulf of Mexico as well as the southeastern United States. Fishing begins after Thursday’s noon blast-off from the Destin Pass and concludes Saturday afternoon. Eligible fish are weighed Friday and Saturday evenings. Viewing is free and open to the public.

Even though the weigh-ins are popular crowd-pleasers, the festivities begin long before the boats leave the dock. Hancock Whitney Bank is sponsoring the ECBC Golf Scramble, which is open to participants and sponsors. Tee-time is 9 a.m. at The Links Golf Club on Wednesday, June 19.

Junior anglers get in on the fun on Friday, June 21, with the Kid’s Catch & Release Fishing Tournament. Prizes will be awarded to the winners who catch and release the longest fish from the resort’s many stocked ponds. Participants need to check in at the Baytowne Marina weigh scales by 10 am.

Tournament host, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and Presenting Sponsor Wind Creek Casino & Hotel-Atmore are joined this year by Tourism Partner Visit South Walton and Tournament Partners Mojo Sportswear and  Gulf Coast Yacht Group. Galati Yacht Sales returns as the Founding Sponsor while Sportfish Outfitters comes aboard for the first time as the Concierge Provider. Ten Emerald, 14 Platinum, 11 Gold and 32 Silver sponsors round out the many businesses and services that make the ECBC possible. Sponsor display booths will be located at Baytowne Marina.

The 2019 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic runs June 19-23 at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. For registration, dockage, rules and schedule of events, visit www.fishecbc.com. Reservations for golf carts need to be made directly through the Baytowne Marina office. Book now to get the best location and rates for the event weekend. Call 800-320-8115 or book online at sandestin.com. Use GROUP Code FISH19.

About Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort

Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is a major destination for all seasons and all ages, and was named the #1 Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast. The resort invites guests to a world of 2,400 acres and 30 charming neighborhoods featuring 1,300 vacation rentals, condominiums, villas, town homes and the best in hotel accommodations. As a member of Visit South Walton and Visit Florida, the resort features more than seven miles of beaches and pristine bay front, four championship golf courses, 15 world-class tennis courts, 19 swimming pools, a 120-slip marina, a fitness center and spa, meeting space and The Village of Baytowne Wharf, a charming pedestrian village with events, shopping, dining and nightlife. People are invited to download Sandestin’s APP for iPhone and Android devices, or become a Facebook Fan or Twitter follower for the latest events and news.

 

Inaugural Swordfish Cup To Be Held Globally in July

March 31st, 2019

QualifyingSword 300x300 Inaugural Swordfish Cup To Be Held Globally in July

Photo: Capt. Dave Lear

The 1st Annual Swordfish Cup, a tournament with a popular 24-hour format, will be held July 27-28, 2019. Anglers around the world will be eligible to compete in their respective time zones. This new global sport-fishing contest is being presented by Fly Zone Fishing and RJ Boyle Studio.

“We’re excited to announce this new tournament catering to the growing legion of broadbill enthusiasts,” says Robert “Fly” Navarro, president of Fly Zone Fishing. “We’ve already heard from multiple teams and I expect to see some hefty entries hoisted to the scales. The popularity of swordfish has exploded in recent years and this tournament is designed to showcase this incredible fishery. We’ll be doing live updates every three hours on FaceBook (flyzonefishing) and giving away some cool prizes donated by our sponsors for those watching the feeds.”

The entry fee for the Swordfish Cup is $1,500 per team, with the winner taking 80 percent of the fees for the heaviest fish exceeding the 200-pound minimum weight. All line class weights will be allowed. Contestants may only use conventional rods and reels, including electric reels mounted on rods. Hand gear, bandit gear and hydraulic reels are not permitted. Harpoons may be used to boat the fish, however. In the event of a tie, the first eligible fish boated shall be declared the winner.

SmallBoatSword 300x300 Inaugural Swordfish Cup To Be Held Globally in July

Photo: Capt. Dave Lear

Weigh-ins will be conducted at approved scales certified by governmental authorities within the last year. Fishing hours will be from 8 am on Saturday, July 27 until 8 am on Sunday, July 28, in each local time zone. Continuous video verification of the gaffing and boating of the fish with a GPS date and time stamp will be required to prove the catch was made during the specified tournament hours. The winning angler and/or team member may also be required to take a polygraph test to ensure compliance with the rules.

“Several prolific swordfish areas will be in play during our July time frame,” Navarro adds. “South Florida and the Keys, the Mid-Atlantic, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, Southern California and Hawaii could all produce the winning fish. And with the caliber of teams we’re expecting, the winning weight might be decided by mere ounces. It will be an exciting 24-hour window into the sport.”

For more information on the tournament or to register to compete, please visit www.swordfishcup.com

Contact: Robert “Fly” Navarro, 561-310-9214; fly@flyzonefishing.com