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A Big Little Fishing Tournament

September 2, 2010 | Staff Writer | The Sandestin Celebration Fishing Tournament took place August 25th-29th at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Despite stormy weather, 20 boats signed up and headed out to the Gulf Thursday evening competing for an incredible $233,100. After two days and nights in almost constant rain and 5-7 foot seas they returned, wet and sore through and through, but triumphant.

The Sandestin Celebration Fishing Tournament

Fourteen billfish were caught, mostly swordfish of which three were weighed, along with 36 gamefish—wahoo and amberjack being the most plentiful. Marine biologists were on hand to take samples for research after each fish was weighed, and the majority of the fish were donated to the Harvest House Food Bank.

Anglers came to the scales with fingers peeling and puckered from the rain. "Normally by this time of the year your fingers are calloused from running line, " one participant said. "But this year, well, we're just happy to be back out there."

The Top Boat was You Never Know!, a brand new 72' F&S. Capt. Joey Birbeck and his team collected 1st Place Dolphin, 2nd and 3rd Place Tuna, 3rd Place Swordfish and 3rd place Release Team. Gordon Gill, fishing aboard Never Better, a 55' Hatteras with Capt. Clay Dubuisson took Top Angler by releasing two swordfish, one white marlin and one sailfish in addition to weighing a 79.6-pound swordfish and a 19.6-pound blackfin tuna. Full results are listed below.

"I'm really happy that Sandestin decided to host this event," said Shawna Meisner, Tournament Director. "It was great to see everyone having such a good time."

The Awards Brunch wrapped up with a reminder, greeting by applause, that the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic would be back next year and is scheduled for June 21st-26th.

Special thanks also went to the sponsors that jumped in at the last minute to support this event: Emerald Grande, Galati Yacht Sales, Hydroglow, J&M Tackle, Lazorscape Landscaping, Legendary Marine, Lindgren Pitman, MTU/Florida Detroit Diesel, Gulf Coast Hatteras, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Sandestin Real Estate, Saunders Yachtworks, South Bay Ace, West Marine and Yellowfin Gallery.

Sandestin Celebration Fishing Tournament Results

Top Release Teams

BOAT CAPTAIN POINTS
Never Better, 55' Hatteras Clay Dubuisson 775 points - 2 swordfish, 1 white marlin, 1 sailfish
Emerald Grande, 73' Donzi Mike Tokheim 575 points - 1 blue marlin, 1 sailfish
You Never Know!, 72' F&S Joey Birbeck 400 points - 1 swordfish, 1 white marlin

Top Swordfish

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
Legal Dose III, 33' Grady White Andy Lindsey Ford Torrey 121.4 lbs.
Never Better, 55' Hatteras Clay Dubuisson Gordon Gill 79.6 lbs.
You Never Know!, 72' F&S Joey Birbeck Mark Hebert 68.4 lbs.

Top Dolphin

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
You Never Know!, 72' F&S Joey Birbeck Eldon Rogillio 26.7 lbs.

Top Tuna

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
Never Better, 55' Hatteras Clay Dubuisson Gordon Gill 19.6 lb. blackfin
You Never Know!, 72' F&S Joey Birbeck Courtney Westbrook 19.0 lb. blackfin
You Never Know!, 72' F&S Joey Birbeck Baron Davis 18.5 lb. blackfin

Top Wahoo

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
Ole Miss, 65' Hatteras Brad Benton Emeril Lagasse 60.3 lbs.
Two Buy Four, 43' Viking John Pugh John Pugh 44.0 lbs.
Quick Time, 56' Ocean Patrick Ivie Robert Burroughs 42.7 lbs.

Top Amberjack

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
Ole Miss, 65' Hatteras Brad Benton Chris Wilson 49.8 lbs.
Mollie, 66' G&S Jeff Shoults Blake Roberts 42.7 lbs.
Ole Miss, 65' Hatteras Brad Benton Chris Wilson 39.8 lbs.

Top Grouper

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
Legal Dose III, 33' Grady White Andy Lindsey Van Phillips 18.7 lb. gag
Juan in a Million, 36' Carrera Juan Aden Jim Lee 11.3 lb. gag
Juan in a Million, 36' Carrera Juan Aden Jim Lee 6.5 lb. gag

Top King Mackerel

BOAT CAPTAIN ANGLER WEIGHT
Two Buy Four, 43' Viking John Pugh Bob Stewart 15.7 lbs.
Mollie, 66' G&S Jeff Shoults Darryl Carpenter 10.7 lbs.
Another Well, Well Done, 35' Silverton Jonathon Upfold Anthony Spiva 6.6 lbs.