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Pensacola International Billfish Tournament set to go. Hold Captains meeting at Seville Quarter
Capt. Myles Colley will be the first to tell you that momentum exists in the sport of fishing.
And after his team Reel Worthless hauled in a record payout of $498,450.00 at the 12th Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin Baytowne Marina on June 22, Colley believes his team may be primed for success this weekend at the 43rd Annual Pensacola International Billfish Tournament.
"We fish these tournaments all across the gulf, every year," said Colley, whose boat Reel Worthless is currently out of commission due to a fire in the engine room.
"It seems like every year there is a boat that's hot. For whatever reason, we've been lucky this year and it's been our turn."
The team combined crews with Reel Fuelish and will be using that name and vessel for the Pensacola Billfish Tournament. Reel Fuelish will compete against 47 other boats, with nearly $300,000 up for grabs in the two-day tournament, which kicked off Midnight Friday.
First-year chairman Victor Wallace encouraged anglers to "fish the tradition."
"We're a bigger tournament with more money and more history (than the average)," Wallace said.
"I've been fishing in the Pensacola International Billfish Tournament for the last 10 years. I stepped in this year (as chairman) to see what I could do to leave my impression on the event."
The tournament separates into three divisions — Open, Ladies and Juniors — with blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, dolphin and swordfish all in play.
Anglers have been watching the weather forecasts closely leading up to the tournament and Wallace said that things are looking favorable.
"The forecast for the seas dropped from about 2 feet to just 1 foot for the weekend," Wallace said.
Anglers had a change to see a bounty of awards Wednesday at the captain's meeting, hosted at Seville Quarter.
Covering everything from Top Captain to Top Catch & Release Boat, every award garners a cash prize.
The 36th Annual Pensacola Billfish Tournament team with the top winnings — Click Through — still holds the record payout at $103,340.
The big payouts may catch the attention of all anglers, but Colley and other Pensacola natives also simply find joy in participating in the tradition.
"I grew up helping out and dragging fish at the docks just like the kids you'll see this weekend at the tournament," Colley said.
"This is our hometown tournament. It's a big event for our city so you want to do good with it."