Blue Marlin Grand Championship July 10-13 at The Wharf
So, what makes the Blue Marlin Grand Championship of the Gulf such a special event?
That would be the over-the-top weigh-in experience appropriately billed as “the greatest show in sportfishing,’’ and the possibility of seeing a state record fish, as happened in 2013 when Chris Ferrara (with Capt. Mike Roberto) brought home a 845.8 blue marlin on The Reel Fire.
Recognized as one of the Top 20 events in the Southeast, the BMGC will be held July 10-13 at The Wharf.
Thursday Boat Parade
The tourney’s participating boats leave the docks at The Wharf Marina at 11 a.m. on July 11 for the start of the tournament. The public is invited to witness the boats heading out to sea past Canal Road, a prime viewing point for the general public to see the boats parading in anticipation of the tourney’s total cash prize purse of $1 million plus.
Weigh-Ins Fri. & Sat.
The tourney weigh-in officially opens on Friday, July 12 at 5 p.m. So any marlin that were caught during the first day of fishing will come in Friday evening. The big show occurs on Saturday, as the fleet returns from fishing and to weigh their catches. Last year an estimated 15,000 spectators turned out to enjoy the spectacle and The Wharf’s many other amenities.
O.B. boat won in 2018
The crew of Shock Wave will never be superstitious about Friday the 13th again. The Or- ange Beach team brought a 795.2-pound blue marlin to the scales Friday, July 13 to win the 2018 Blue Marlin Grand Championship and earn the team a payout of $371,250.
Brien Blakeney is the owner of the 64 Viking and his son, Austin, was the angler who whipped the trophy-winning catch. Captain Marco Gaona is the skipper, Lawton Shaffer is the mate and Chris Head was the other angler.
Shock Wave’s fish was caught on a live bait and subdued after a 4.5-hour battle on 100-pound test monofilament with a 200-pound test leader.
“It’s prestigious to win any tournament, but this was nice to do it here at home with family and friends looking on,” Gaona said before Sunday’s awards ceremony. “We were fishing against the best teams in the Gulf of Mexico. It makes me happy for the owners for all the effort and expense they put into the sport. It’s a very family oriented team.”
Wireman Sets A Record
The Pleasure Island based Carib set a new BMGC tournament record when Larry Wireman muscled a 192.2-pound yellowfin tuna to the transom in 2018. That fish was worth $64,575. Nick Pratt (Hauling Away) had the second largest tuna at 185.2 pounds last year.
A St. Jude’s Fundraiser
To date, the tour- nament has raised $120,000 in donations to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is dedicated to finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The advances made at St. Jude are saving the lives of children everywhere.
Blue Marlin Grand Championship Schedule
Wednesday July 10:
7 pm: Live music on the Marlin Circle Stage
7 pm: Wharf Street Party and Billfish Boat Show on Main Street
9:30 pm: Kick Off After-Party at the Boat Bar Presented by Tito’s Vodka
Thursday July 11:
9-11 am: World Famous Dock Walk
11:01am: Boat departure from The Wharf Marina
11:01am: Orange Beach/Gulf Shores Billfish Boat Parade – Canal Road
5 pm: Sponsor Village Opens in Marlin Circle
5 pm: Billfish Boat Show on Main Street opens
Friday July 12:
5pm: Sponsor Village and Billfish Boat Show opens
6-8pm: Tournament weigh-ins
Saturday July 13:
4pm: Sponsor Village and Billfish Boat Show opens
5-9pm: Tournament weigh-ins
10pm: Announcement of Tournament Champions