DATES: Wednesday, June 21 – Sunday, June 25, 2017 | 15th Annual
HOST FACILITY: Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort
LOCATION: Destin, Florida USA
MAILING ADDRESS: Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin, 9300 Emerald Coast Pkwy W, Miramar Beach, FL 32550
CONTACTS: Adam Alfonso and Julia Brakhage
PHONE: Adam 850-267-6364; Julia 910-264-3947
ENTRY FEE: $5,000 (base entry) – $71,561 per team with optional entries
ENTRY LIMITS: no limits on number or size of boats, open to both private and charter boats
TARGET SPECIES: blue marlin (106” minimum), white marlin, sailfish, spearfish (release only), blackfin tuna (20 lb. & 12” minimum), yellowfin and bigeye tuna (20 lb. & 27” minimum), dolphin (20 lb. minimum), wahoo (20 lb. minimum)
FORMAT: modified release: 106” minimum on blue marlin, release only on all other billfish species
ANGLING RULES: expected to follow the spirit of the IGFA Saltwater Angling Rules
TOURNAMENT SERIES AFFILIATIONS: Gulf Coast Triple Crown Championship, InTheBite Captain of the Year Cup, King of the Hill, Offshore World Championship
CHARITIES SUPPORTED: The Billfish Foundation, Harvest House Food Bank, Hosanna House for Women, Sandestin Foundation for Kids, Reel Life International
PUBLICATIONS: annual tournament program published by Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort
TOURNAMENT STARTED IN: 2003
FIRST YEAR STATISTICS: 45 teams, $329,625 cash awards
2016 STATISTICS: 85 teams, 630 anglers, $1,952,750 cash awards
HIGHEST PURSE PAID TO DATE: $1,952,750 in 2016
HIGHEST NUMBER OF BOATS PARTICIPATING TO DATE: 85 in 2016
HIGHEST PURSE PAID TO DATE TO A SINGLE TEAM: $498,450 in 2014 to Reel Worthless for 1st Place Marlin
BEST YEARS OF FISHING: 2016–55 billfish, 2013–118 gamefish weighed
OTHER: Perpetual trophy awarded to team with most released billfish; average number of teams receiving awards each year: 22; 2010 tournament canceled due to BP-Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf.
Taking place in one of the most productive fisheries in the United States, timed to coincide with the peak of the Gulf Coast’s blue marlin season and located at the South’s number-one ranked resort destination, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin® (ECBC) has set the precedent for world-class sportfishing tournaments.
This annual event offers something for everyone. Most importantly, for the angling teams, there are the deep blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, red-hot billfish action, and cool green cash. While onshore, both tournament participants and their families can enjoy the wide variety of recreational activities offered at the Sandestin® Golf and Beach Resort and The Village of Baytowne Wharf. The spectacular night time weigh-ins, held at the Baytowne Marina at Sandestin®, are free and open to the public.
Named as one of the top ten big-money tournaments in the world by Marlin magazine, the ECBC currently holds the record as the richest tournament in the Gulf. Tournament cash awards regularly surpass $1.5 million – and with over 27 optional entry levels, there are plenty of ways to win a piece of the pie.
The ECBC is a “modified-release” tournament and led the Gulf Coast tournament circuit in setting a high minimum length for blue marlin, which are the only billfish that may be weighed. Release points are awarded for blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish and spearfish. The three heaviest weighed blue marlin, dolphin, tuna and wahoo are eligible for cash awards, as are the top three teams entered in the Release Division, and the top three Crews entered in the Crew Division. Awards are presented to the top overall, release, lady and junior anglers, and the top overall release team has its name engraved on the Magnificent Blue Perpetual Trophy, donated by Galati Yacht Sales and Viking Yachts, sculpted by Chris Barela and on permanent display in the Grand Sandestin.
BLUE MARLIN (2015) — 899.6 lbs., Cotton Patch, 60 ft. Hatteras
Capt. Johnny Dorland from Orange Beach, Alabama USA; angler Lance Hill from Orange Beach, Alabama USA
DOLPHIN (2006) — 53.1 lbs., Fly By, 74 ft. Viking
Capt. Marco Gaona from Elberta, Alabama USA; angler James Justice from Lawrenceville, Georgia USA
YELLOWFIN TUNA (2016) — 190.6 lbs., Marlin Darlin, 70 ft. Viking
Capt. Matt Condon from Destin, Florida USA; angler Kenny Tamm from New Orleans, Louisiana USA
WAHOO (2016) — 112.2 lbs., Lucky 2, 51 ft. Bertram
Capt. Tommy Green from Destin, Florida USA; angler Lynn Layton from Decatur, Alabama USA