Outdoors

Gulf Coast Billfish produced a record catch

Throwback: A 668-pound blue marlin wins in 2017

Jeff Friedman of Perdido Key, Fla., describes his catch entered in the 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic.
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Jeff Friedman of Perdido Key, Fla., describes his catch entered in the 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic.

Team Aries dominated the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic last week at the Point Cadet Marina.

The swordfish record was broken three times. Pay Dirt, a 37 Freeman based in Tallahassee, finished with the record. Angler Scott Cothran, Capt. Ryan Kelly caught a 242.54-pound broadbill to earn a check for $51.075.

If verified by the DMR in a few weeks, Pay Dirt will earn an additional payout of $325,000 plus a Petro Nissan Titan truck.

Two other records were set at the Billfish Classic: 120 boats fishing and over $2 million in prize money. The Golden Nugget was the tournament’s host.

“It was one of the best tournaments we’ve had,” Billfish Classic Tournament Director Bobby Carter said. “It went extremely well. The weather was great.”

The team of Owner/captain Russell Craft, Hollis Legg, angler Jeff Friedman and Jason, Matthew and Darin Friedman caught a first-place blue marlin that weighed 668.77-pounds. The Perdido Key, Fla. team won a prize of $397,925.

“We came to catch a big fish, and we caught a big fish,” Friedman said. “We love fishing this tournament.”

Mollie, a 68 G&S based in Destin, and run by Captain Jeff Shoults, was second, but won the most money. Thomas Cornelison and his teammates earned a payout of $403,005. Reel Addiction, a 56 Viking from Pensacola Beach and run by Captain Scooter Porto, was third.

Here are the other winners:

▪ Tuna division: Ryan Cooper of CE had a yellowfin that weighed 201.06 pounds for a $81,360 check. Drew Marshall of Trader’s Hill from Bay Point, Fla., was second. Dylan Doubleday, fishing aboard Makaira, was third.

▪  Wahoo: Neal Foster of Mobile fishing aboard 39 contender caught the top two wahoo, 80.13 and 72.7 pounds to win $112,000. A Work of Art, led by Greg Cooper. Captain Ron Woodruff, owner Art Favre, was third.

▪ Dolphin: Angler Brian Leiser, Capt. Jeff Theiry of Orange Beach aboard Hot, Black and Sticky won $108,000 for their 42.97 pound bull.

Fishing Schedule: Here’s the rest of the Coast’s fishing slate.

▪ June 24: CCA Horn Island Live Catch at Ocean Springs Harbor.

▪ June 30-July 4: The 70th Mississippi Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo at Jones Park Harbor in Gulfport

▪ July 19-22: MGCBG Ladies Tournament at Cypress Cove Marina in Venice, Louisiana

▪ Aug. 4-7: Home Builders Association of Mississippi Carl Legett Tournament at Point Cadet Marina

▪ Aug. 16-19: MGCBG Sonny Johnson Memorial Tournament, location to be determined.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones

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