BILOXI Vincent Pisciotta was a double winner at the 2017 Sonny Johnson Memorial Billfish Tournament on Sunday at Palace Casino
Pisciotta was named named Top Angler, winning first and third place in the marlin category with blue marlin catches. His team, Heads N Tails, won Top Boat honors. Heads N Tails team is made up Pisciotta, David Mashado, Ken Cook, Dennis Kilpatrick, Jason Rector, Fouad Zayed, Hussein Zayed and Josh Pitalo.
Pisciotta caught his first marlin on Friday morning at 7:30 a.m., about 140 miles out in the gulf. He caught the second one on Saturday at 7:18 p.m.
“He hit the bait and pulled off 700 or 800 yards of line in the water,” said Pisciotta. “Got him away from the rig and fought him for about an hour. It’s kind of stressful. Everything’s got to work just right. I am in the chair. I don’t usually catch the fish. I usually work the support, the boat or whatever.
‘’You got to have several people. He made a big bow in the line which creates a lot of extra pressure on the line. Then you got to get him away from the rig because he was near the rig, so we had to keep him away from there. It takes a good seven guys to make it all happen.”
Kenny Woodword of team Southern Miss, won second place in the marlin category with an 8:11 a.m. catch on Saturday.
Brandon Carlisle of team Long Straw, took first place in the tuna category with a 107-pound tuna. David Harris of Southern Miss’s 106.8 pound tuna earned second place, and Faoud Zayed’s 56.4 pound tuna won third place.
First prize in the dolphin category was Josh Fulton’s 26.1-pound dolphin, the only reported fish in the category.
“It’s been a great tournament,” tournament director Tim Wold said. “We had eight boats and over 100 fishermen, a little more than our spring and ladies day tournament. The weather cooperated.”
In the marlin category, fish are caught, filmed and released.
“We tag and release on marlin,” Wold said. “This is not a kill tournament on marlin. We’re all about conservation and growing the marlin species here in Mississippi.”