As the first full day of fishing in the 2014 Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic draws to a close, at least one blue marlin has been boated aboard Reel Worthless. The recent third-place finisher in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic has elected to stay offshore and continue fishing through Saturday, however. The blue reportedly measures 113 inches, which could put it into the 600-pound range.

Reel Obsession, a 35-foot Contender center console, christened the scales by weighing in three dolphin. The largest, caught by Walter Stahl, registered 42.2 pounds for the early lead. Yet, even if the scales remain relatively quiet, the crowd of spectators will be able to appreciate the magnificent beauty and colors of the fish being pursued when they venture by Amber Moran’s booth at the Baytowne Marina.

Moran is the 2014 ECBC Artist and the talented painter/illustrator has created a stunning scene depicting a blue marlin, dolphin and tuna for the official print and T-shirt art. With brilliant colors, movement, a sportfishing convertible against the Sandestin backdrop and the resort’s signature sand dollar logo, the piece is an impressive first showing for this Stuart, Florida-based artist and mother of two young boys.

“I’ve been painting forever, but as a business for the last seven years,” Moran says. “My father was a woodworker, my mother is a quilter and my aunt was a graphic designer. I also had good teachers in high school and college professors who really encouraged me to pursue this. It’s a stress reliever, something I have to do.”

Moran earned her Fine Arts degree from the University of Buffalo and her master’s in education from Elmira College. She has a small studio in her home but also exhibits in galleries along the Treasure Coast and other tournaments. She does commissioned original art, prints and clothing.

“I’m self-trained in marine art, but I’m lucky enough to have some captain friends and go out with them once in awhile. My husband and I take our boys snorkeling and lobstering and now they’re getting old enough to fish, so we’ll be doing more of that. I just love the vibrant colors and movement of marine fish and animals.”

Moran combines painting and illustration in her work. She starts with watercolor and builds up layers to add texture. She then illustrates the subjects with ink over the painting, which extends into the mat to create a unique and different look. The 2014 ECBC original art will be auctioned at the awards breakfast, with the proceeds divided between the tournament’s four non-profit charities, including The Billfish Foundation, Reel Life International, Sandestin Foundation for Kids, and Harvest House.

“It’s an honor to be asked to come to the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic,” she added. “This is my first time here, and it’s a beautiful spot and a very nice family resort.”

To see more of her work or to purchase something for your own art collection, please visit:
Amber M. Moran