Lifeblood

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It’s no easy feat putting on a world-class fishing tournament like the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. It takes months of planning, logistics and lots of coin. The boat entry fees and optional cash divisions are mainly paid back in winnings. And with more than $1.58 million spread among the 78-boat fleet this year, that’s a substantial pay-out.

But all the parties, meals and related support cost a pretty penny and that’s where the sponsors come in. Sponsors are the lifeblood ...

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‘Pit Players

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Dark-tanned skin. Rough, calloused hands. Raccoon eyes. All are telltale signs. Line up any big-game fishing team at the weigh scales with a trophy fish and you can immediately spot the mate. He’ll be the one off to the side, always in a complementary role. But even team sports have standout players and in this arena, the mate is an unheralded All Star. He’s also the hardest-working member of the crew.

“I’ve been happily together with Joey since 2008,” explains Stan ...

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Goodbye Bill, Hello Bills

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Tropical Storm Bill dumped more rain on soggy Texas, but here in sunny Florida it’s clear skies and big fish on tap, as the 13th annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic gets underway. At total of 79 boats had signed up to fish with big stakes and spirited competition on the line.

“We’ve had a slow star this year, but as long as Kate [Ferrera] is rolling with us, we’re good,” says Capt. Mike “Whappo” Roberto, the skipper of Reel Fire, ...

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