Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort is reeling in the big one with the Fourth Annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin, June 20-25. The ECBMC is the first biggame fishing tournament in the area and is the only Destin event sanctioned by the World Billfish Series. The success of the tournament is evident in the continual increase in the amount of money given away each year. The 2005 purse doubled the previous year’s mark with the overall prize money exceeding $720,000.
With the number of entries limited to 75 teams, the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic gives serious angling teams the potential to pocket more than $750,000 in the 2006 World Billfish Series-sanctioned event. Cash prizes will be given for the categories of blue marlin, dolphin, tuna and wahoo. Individual angler trophies awarded to participants bring extra incentive to reel in the big one.
The ECBMC boasts the highest minimum length for blue marlin in the Gulf Coast at 103 inches, which is four inches over the Federal minimum length. The event will also be doing its part to conserve treasured marine resources by requiring all-release for white marlin, spearfish and sailfish. The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin supports the Harvest House, a local food bank, by donating all meat fish weighed during the tournament to the food bank. The tournament also supports the Billfish Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to the conservation and enhancement of the billfish populations worldwide, by donating cash funds raised through raffles, auctions and other activities.
Returning for the fourth consecutive year as the official artist for the tournament is Steve T. Goione. In this year’s artwork, he has creatively included The Grand Sandestin, Sandestin’s signature luxury condominium hotel, into his marlin design. Goione has also hidden the Sandestin trademark sand dollar someplace in the design with only the privileged few knowing where the trademark is.
Development and execution of the art takes four to five months of work. Once a concept is decided, Goione paints a vivid watercolor illustration touched off by hand with pen and ink stippling, a technique that provides the detail and realism that Goione is known for.
The artwork will be reproduced onto the official program, posters, T-shirts and other merchandise and promotional materials to promote the fishing tournament.
This year’s event will offer guests an array of activities to enjoy while at the resort. On June 24 from 2 to 8 p.m., a designated kids’ play area will be set up including a bungee run, inflatable slide and a sharkthemed space bounce. The Village of Baytowne Wharf will host its annual concert event series at the Village Events Plaza on June 23 at 6 p.m. This year the Village will present singer/songwriter Sam Thacker from Atlanta. Local favorite, Wag the Dog, will perform at the Baytowne Marina at 2:30 p.m. on June 24. The Baytowne Marina will present a spectacular fireworks display on June 24 at 10 p.m. Nightly weighins are always a crowd favorite and will take place on June 24 from 4 to 9 p.m. and June 25 from 4 to 10 p.m.
“We’ve really worked hard to offer an exciting mix of activities for the entire family during this year’s tournament,” said Shawna Meisner, tournament director. “The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic has evolved into a major event for Sandestin, and is continuing to gain worldwide attention in the highly competitive world of sportfishing tournaments,” she added.
The tournament also supports the Billfish Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to conservation and enhancement of billfish populations worldwide, by donating cash funds raised through raffles, auctions and other activities.
The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is presented by Galati Yacht Sales and Viking Yachts and sponsored by The Village of Baytowne Wharf, Marine Max and Bertram, MTU, Detroit Diesel, Release Marine, Sandestin Real Estate and more.
For more information about the event and entry forms, contact tournament director Shawna Meisner at 866/505-4458, or find information online at www. fishecbc.com.