A Billfish Classic that battled stormy weather featured an ‘Intense’ finish

Team Intense of Alabama drew a roar as the scales neared closing on Sunday at the 23rd annual Gulf Coast Billfish Classic as the winning wahoo weighed in at 89.83 pounds. Josh Collier caught the winning wahoo and his teammate Neal Foster finished in second place in the category with a 59.68 pound fish.

The expected prize money for Team Intense is $49,500 for having individuals finish in first and second place.

“It was a tough weekend,” said Collier. “It was rough the first couple of days; it kind of slacked off a little bit today. It was kind of nice to get out there in this rough weather, catch a good one and get back in time to weigh it in.”

Team Intense was one of 25 boats to continue in the tournament from a field of 117 boats that were in town for the tournament on Wednesday.

“I don’t know if we really blame them,” Collier said of the teams that decided to back out. “We took a whipping at first. We always try to go all out. If they say go and other people are going, we are going to go. We had to get out there, catch some fish, get back and win some money.”

The crowds showed up on Sunday as hundreds of spectators were on hand, many of them hoping to see a blue marlin.

“A lot of marlin were tagged,” tournament director Bobby Carter said. “We didn’t kill one this year. That’s okay. Everyone had a great time.

“The highlight of the weekend was to see all these guys that went out, as bad as the weather was, caught some really nice fish. I’m talking some big fish,” Carter said. “We’ve got some tuna, several tuna over a hundred thirty pounds. That’s incredible.”

Winners in the tuna category were Robert Burroughs on Quick Time in first place (142.87 pounds), Deb Hebert on Doctors Orders in second place (137.16 pound), and Toby Berthelot on Get Reel in third place (128.49 pounds).

Andre Feucht on Split Decision won the tuna category (35.80 pounds), followed by Tami Hudson on Iona Louise in second place, and Abbee Weidenhaft on Snafu (35.44 pounds).

Robert Burroughs on Quick Time finished in third place in the wahoo category with a 51.13 pound fish.