Millions of dollars in prize money at stake in Billfish Classic - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Millions of dollars in prize money at stake in Billfish Classic

The public is invited to attend the event on Friday & Saturday night. (Photo source: WLOX News) The public is invited to attend the event on Friday & Saturday night. (Photo source: WLOX News)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

World-class fishermen from Corpus Christi to Key West are in town for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic, gearing up to compete again for millions of dollars in prize money.

Anglers at Point Cadet Plaza prepare for their next big catch, some hoping for the glory of a new record.

Biloxi-born Jimmy Crochet said even though he's currently living in Orange Beach, he and many of his fishing acquaintances try to make it back here each year. 

"I'm looking to break the record for a marlin here. It's for the money, the competition, and the all-around fun," Crochet said.

Organizer Bobby Carter said the entry fee for the tournament is $5,000 per category. To bet across the board, which is all competition categories, is $83,000.

"We have over 50 boats in the marina now, and we expect 110 to 120 to come for the tournament. They're going to be fishing for close to $2 million," Carter said. "This has an incredible effect on the economy. They're paying for the marina, slip rentals, grocery stores, liquor stores, restaurants, and an incredible amount of fuel purchased here, so it's gotta be $10 million plus."

One state record many fishermen are expecting to see shattered is the swordfish state record. That's because Carter says the current state record for swordfish in our state is 75 lbs., much lower than the state records of around 400 lbs. in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.

"The draw for this year is swordfish. We're going to pay close to $350,000 if a competitor breaks it," Carter noted.

The boats will leave Thursday at 11:00 a.m. and must be back to the marina by 6:00 p.m. Saturday. The public is invited to see what the fisherman bring back and how much money they win at Point Cadet Plaza on Friday and Saturday nights.

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