Outdoors

Swordfish highlights MGCBGFC Spring Tournament

Gulfport’s Benji Thames caught a first-place, 138.2 pound tuna at the Gulf Coast Fishing Club Spring Tournament on Saturday.
Gulfport’s Benji Thames caught a first-place, 138.2 pound tuna at the Gulf Coast Fishing Club Spring Tournament on Saturday. Special to the Sun Herald

A record swordfish and a tuna highlighted the finish of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Fishing Club’s Spring Club Tournament at Point Cadet on Saturday.

Blake Hopkins caught a 171.2-pound swordfish, a tournament record. It was also the only swordfish reported.

“I’ve caught blue marlin, white marlin, wahoo, dolphins, I’ve caught’em all,” said Hopkins. “But this was by far the strongest one I’ve ever caught. You have to fish down to 1,500 to 1,800 feet for them. When you start reeling it up, it comes up to the warmer water. It freaks out and goes back down. And every time it gets close to the boat, it goes back down.”

Hopkins wrestled with the swordfish for 90 minutes before being able to bring it aboard Freedom about 110 miles out in the Gulf.

“It was an adrenalin rush like no other,” said Hopkins. “You fight something for so long not knowing what it is. You have an idea what it is, but you don’t know until you see it. It could be a shark or something.”

“We dropped down and it didn’t take thirty minutes,” said Lane Hensarling, who fished alongside Hopkins for three days. “We got a good bite, so we ended up clicking him up.”

Thirty minutes before the scales closed, Benji Thames of Gulfport brought in a 138.2 pound tuna to take first place in the tuna division.

“The hardest forty-five minutes of my life,” said Thames. “We thought it was a marlin right up until it got to the boat. It was fighting weird. It was intense. It was definitely the biggest fish of my life. I am more of an inshore fisherman. I don’t get to go offshore much. This is a real treat.”

Fishing aboard Freedom, Hunter Day caught the tournament’s first marlin for first place in the marlin division.

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