Coast Fishing season winding down with Sonny Johnson Memorial Tournament next weekend

The Southern Miss boat is owned by Tony Petro.
The Southern Miss boat is owned by Tony Petro. Submitted

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Fishing Club closes its schedule next weekend with the Sonny Johnson Memorial Tournament.

The tournament starts Aug. 18 and concludes on Aug. 20. Fishing begins at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 18. Weigh-in will be from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 20 at Wahoo’s at the Palace Marina in Biloxi.

A captain’s meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 16 at The Island View Casino in Gulfport. The entry fee is $1,000 per boat/team.

The SJ Memorial Tournament has five divisions: Billfish tag, dolphin, tuna, wahoo and swordfish categories. The prizes will be awarded ranging from first to sixth: $100, $300, $500, $1,000, $2,500, $5,000.

A berth in the 2017 Offshore World Billfish Championship at Quepos, Costa Rica goes to the SJ Memorial Tournament winner. For two straight years, Tony Petro and his vessel, Southern Miss, qualified for the offshore championships, an event where 65 teams around the world compete every April.

Last year, participating anglers Bobby Carter, Joe Hudson, Adam Ladnier, Alex Soto, Ray Romero, Shane O’Neal, Bobby Wade were aboard Southern Miss with Petro.

Here are the fish eligible for weigh-in at the scales:

▪ Tuna: 20-pound minimum weight.

▪ Wahoo: 20-pound minimum weight.

▪ Dolphin: 20-pound minimum weight.

Anglers must have a Mississippi Saltwater Fishing license to qualify for state record awards.

The Coast’s final fishing tournament of 2017 is the Southern Kingfish Association Tournament, which will be held Oct. 27 to Oct. 29 at Point Cadet Marina.

James Jones: 228-896-2320, @_jkjones