A pair of fishermen from Orange Beach, Alabama, brought in two blue marlin that tipped the scales at more than 500 pounds in the first day of the 22nd Annual Billfish Classic held at Point Cadet Marina.
Both men brought their catches in for weighing Friday afternoon behind the Golden Nugget Biloxi.
Alex Krake, 17, fishing aboard Team Supreme, fought a 739.1-pound marlin for 11 hours.
Edgar McKee, fishing aboard The Pearl, fought a 611.5-pound marlin for four hour.
Team Supreme and The Pearl are two of 120 boats competing for $2.3 million in prize money in the two-day tournament. An additional half-million dollars will be awarded to the fisherman who breaks the Mississippi state record in the yellow fin tuna category. The current state record is 205.8 pounds.
"They are from all over the Southeast, and a few (teams) from Costa Rica, Hawaii, the Dominican Republic and the East Coast of the United States," said tournament director Bobby Carter.
Carter said participation in the tournament has really taken off in the past few years.
"It's incredible," said Carter. "Before the storm, we averaged around 105 to 110 (boats), then it kind of tapered off. Now we've built it back up. In the past couple of years it's been over 100 boats. This year we're at 120.
"Word is getting out about the fishery here that Mississippi has to offer. People love coming here for the hospitality, the casinos, the restaurants, just the way they are treated."
Only two boats brought in entries at the close of weighing on Friday.
Carter said that he is expecting an exciting day as the boats begin arriving on Saturday afternoon with their fish. He said the average weight for winning marlin is a little over 650 pounds.
"That fish (739.1-pound marlin) will definitely be one of the top three," said Carter. "He'll definitely place. We won't know until tomorrow."
The public is invited to the weigh-in beginning at 3 p.m. The scales close at 6 p.m.
The week of activities concludes with an Awards Ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Sunday in the Golden Nugget Grand Ballroom.