Harrison County

Check out the views from above the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

Clint Herring stands beside the 633-pound blue marlin that he and the crew of the Cotton Patch brought in Friday, June 10, 2016, at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic fishing tournament, hosted by Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi. The scales are open Friday and Saturday, with $2 million in prize money.
Clint Herring stands beside the 633-pound blue marlin that he and the crew of the Cotton Patch brought in Friday, June 10, 2016, at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic fishing tournament, hosted by Golden Nugget Casino Biloxi. The scales are open Friday and Saturday, with $2 million in prize money. amccoy@sunherald.com

The scales are open Friday and Saturday as teams fish for their share of $2 million in prizes and a record swordfish in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic.

And with a record 120 boats lined up for the tournament, the views from above can be pretty impressive, as the City of Biloxi shared on its Facebook page.

Last year a tournament record of $1.76 million in cash was awarded.

The scales will be open until 8 p.m. Friday and again Saturday from 3-8 p.m. It could be a race back to Biloxi, since all boats with fish to weigh must be in by 6 p.m., said Capt. David Lear.

Several swordfish and at least two blue marlin have been boated, he reported Friday.

“Based on the early catch reports, including multiple releases, the pace will be fast and furious from here on out,” Lear said.

The tournament started in 1997 and is one of the premier events in the Gulf of Mexico. A video shot by a drone Wednesday night as boats tied up at the dock and lit up for mandatory meeting has more than 5,000 views. More drone footage was posted as the boats left Point Cadet Marina on Thursday.

As an added incentive, the team that breaks the very attainable Mississippi state swordfish record could win up to $325,000, said Carter. Neighboring states have record catches that are much heavier, he said, and the record could fall this year. The entry fee is $5,000 and the prizes rack up depending on the type of boat, the kind of bait and the brand of rod used to land the record-breaker.

Teams are posting on the event Facebook site that they are headed in with blue marlins. On Saturday afternoon the tournament becomes a spectator sport as the boats return with their catch and the teams with their fish stories.

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