BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The east side of Biloxi's Point Cadet Marina is the staging area for the Carl Legett Fishing Tournament. Everything has been set up: tents, a grand stand, stage and a weigh scale area.
"Due to the oil spill, tournament officials have seen a drop in participants," Weigh Master Randal Broussard said. "Every year we've had a good increase, 20 to 25 increase each year in fishermen. And this year we have about half of what we had last year."
A year ago, more than 430 fishermen competed for $25,000 in cash and prizes. This year's cash and prizes dropped to $15,000.
Restrictions due to the oil spill forced the tournament to be revised. The Mississippi Sound just reopened to "catch and keep" fishing Friday night at 6pm.
"They can only fish in Back Bay, Bay St. Louis, Pascagoula River Basin area and things like that," Broussard said. "We have a lot going to Louisiana and Alabama, but they cannot carry the fish across Mississippi waters. They would have to launch in Louisiana or Alabama and pick up there and bring the fish by truck."
The Saltwater Division has been limited to Speckled Trout, Red Fish and Flounder. The Freshwater Division will consist of Green Trout and Catfish.
"Right now bait abundance is just unbelievable and the fish are growing. The fish are plentiful," beamed Broussard.
Despite all the restrictions, tournament officials are happy that the fishing tournament is underway. Of interest, there will be a bikini contest Saturday night from 6pm till 8 and the weigh scales will open Sunday at 2pm and will close at 5:30pm.