Aries Wins 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

 

Aries Wins 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic

With 668.77-Pound Blue Marlin

 

Biloxi, Mississippi:

Aries is the first sign in zodiac astrology and is associated with energy and fire. Those traits also apply to Team Aries, which earned the top tournament award in the 2017 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic that concluded Sunday morning. Owner/captain Russell Craft, angler Jeff Friedman and family members Jason, Matthew and Darin Friedman, brought the largest marlin to the scales—a 668.77-pound blue marlin—that topped the next challenger by less than 15 pounds. For its efforts, the team is taking $397,925 home to Perdido Key, Florida. In true Aries spirit, the team was the first boat entered for the 21st-annual event when it signed up last fall.

 

“We love fishing this tournament,” Jeff Friedman says. “Bobby [Tournament Director Bobby Carter] and his crew do a fantastic job, the Golden Nugget is a great venue, and we always enjoy the camaraderie and sportsmanship that’s on display here.”

 

Aries’ blue was boated with the fish’s bill broken off. That will sometimes occur naturally, or it could happen during the fight. After a lengthy and thorough review process, the tournament committee ruled that the bill had broken by slamming into the boat’s hull (76 Viking) and allowed the catch to stand. Hollis Legg is the Aries mate.

 

Mollie, a 68 G&S based in Destin, Florida and run by Capt. Jeff Shoults took second-place honors but the most money. Thomas Cornelison and his teammates earned a payout of $403.005 for the second-largest blue (654.52 pounds), top release team (four blues) and optional entries. Mollie is a perennial contender on the highly competitive Gulf big-game circuit and nearly pulled off another win at this year’s Classic.

 

Born2Run is no stranger to the awards stage either and angler Dana Foster, Capt. Myles Colley and crew won the third place tournament award with a 563.92 blue. The 72 Viking based in Pensacola, Florida, also scored 1,800 points in the release division for a combined payout of $242,940. Reel Addiction, a 56 Viking from Pensacola Beach and run by Capt. Scooter Porto, took third-place billfish release honors (1,800 points based on time) and $70,380. Other boats winning optional billfish money included Wild Hooker and A Work of Art. Double J (553.43) and Breathe Easy (501.43) came in fourth and fifth, respectively, in the marlin weight division. The tournament established a new minimum length of 107 inches this year (LJFL) to promote billfish conservation.

 

The leaderboard was constantly changing throughout the tournament due to the hotly contested swordfish division. Every weighed sword easily shattered the existing Mississippi record of 75 pounds. By the time the scales closed Saturday night, Pay Dirt, a 37 Freeman based in Tallahassee, Florida, was the big winner. Angler Scott Cothran, Capt. Ryan Kelly and the veteran team boated a 242.54-pound broadbill to earn top tournament honors and a check for $51.075.

 

Their catch must now be verified by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, a process that should take a few weeks. If it is certified as expected, Pay Dirt will earn an additional payout of $325,000 plus a Petro Nissan Titan pick-up. Freeman Boatworks, Hilton’s Realtime Navigator, Killer Bee Bait, Poseidon Total Fishing Outfitters and Marsh Tacky Carbon were the special swordfish promotional sponsors, along with the MGCBC.

 

Shockwave, a 42 Freeman (Capt. Richard Draper), was the top swordfish release boat with 7 points or one point per fish for a $9,000 check. Metal Shark 42 was second with four releases ($6,300), followed by Ellie B, also with four fish. Other boats earning money for swordfish in the optional or release divisions include Titan Up ($29,280), Wild Bill ($12,870), Burst Factor ($10,125), Ellie B ($9,180), Peacekeeper ($8,100), Sea Cruiser Tails Up ($6,570), Cajun Odyssey ($7,850) and Change Order ($5,400).

 

The tuna division was a seesaw battle all Saturday night as the 120-boat fleet returned to the Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi. Fourteen-year-old Ryan Cooper on CE outlasted the top yellowfin, a rotund fish that tipped the scales at 201.06 pounds. That fish earned an $81,360 payout. Capt. George Crenshaw is the skipper of the 63 Hatteras based in Point Clear, Alabama. Another teenager, Drew Marshall, fishing aboard his family’s 105-foot Broward Trader’s Hill, whipped a tuna that scaled 185.29 pounds, worth $81,360. Capt. Billy Blount is the captain of Trader’s Hill, which home-ports in Bay Point, Florida. Still another junior angler, Dylan Doubleday, fishing aboard Makaira (53 Hatteras/Capt. BJ Teems), landed the third-biggest tuna of the tournament. That fish weighed 176.55 pounds, good for $17,490.

 

Owner Neal Foster and his Intense team, fishing aboard a 39 Contender, ran nearly 1,000 miles round-trip to scale the top two wahoo, 80.13 and 72.7 pounds. Foster, of Mobile, Alabama, and his crew won $112,200 for their marathon efforts. A Work of Art (93 Viking) captured third place wahoo honors with a 60.82-pounder wound in by Greg Cooper. Capt. Ron Woodruff, owner Art Favre, and the team won $61,590 for that fish, billfish release and a 145.95-pound yellowfin options. Emily Landry (Bons Amis) also earned $3,960 for a 58.4 ‘hoo.

 

Angler Brian Leiser, Capt. Jeff Theory and the Orange Beach, Alabama, team aboard Hot, Black and Sticky (60 Hatteras) won the most money per pound by sweeping the dolphin division. With no other fish meeting the 20-pound minimum, Leiser, and Company took home an impressive $108,000 for their 42.97-pound bull.

 

 

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com 

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Not Your Ordinary Fish Camp

 

Not Your Ordinary Fish Camp

By Craig Lamb

Travel to Venice, Louisiana, and find fish camps lined up along the Mississippi River. Most are rustic by design. After all, you come here for the world-class saltwater fishing that is not far away in the Gulf of Mexico.

A place to lay your head at night after a long day of catching yellowfin tuna, grouper, snapper, and the latest craze, swordfish, is the basic need. A decent meal and a bed are what you get at most fish camps.

The Lodges at Home Run Charters is not your average fish camp. Arrive, and you find elegance, comfort, and first-class service, dining, and lodging. Take a look around Venice, and you will see the lodge stands out.

The reasons are many. Location is a start. The lodges are located within the very same marina where you will meet your captain and board their boat. You can have a tasty breakfast and be out the door and into the boat within minutes.

A good day on the water beckons you to come back to an even greater evening of entertainment, dining, and relaxation in elegant luxury. You are fishing in the best saltwater fishing in the U.S. So why not treat yourself to the best in food, lodging, and service?

Return from your day on the Gulf and just a few steps away is your luxury condo.

From the stylish Tommy Bahamas furniture to the ornate fixtures and rich, hardwood floors, the accommodations offer a more refined way to relax after an exciting day of inshore or offshore fishing.

Three separate lodges each have a living room, wide-screen TVs, free WiFi with a printer, dining room, bar and kitchen. You can cook your own meals or experience gourmet dining. Big pork chops, prime steaks, and Louisiana seafood, the freshest around, are on the menu.

The lodges can comfortably accommodate up to 20 people at one time. That makes the Home Run lodges a perfect venue for corporate gatherings, bachelor parties, and other special events.

Luxury living means the same experience for dining at the Lodge. The all-inclusive plan includes a decadent five-course meal, breakfast, and a to-go lunch for the fishing day. Check out details about the lodge and dining here.

Right now is prime time to get the most of a trip to Venice and what is called “Tuna Town.” Make it a date and check here for availability at the Lodges.

Got questions? Click here for answers to frequently asked questions. Ready to book a trip? Go for it by clicking here. Got more questions? Call (504) 982-8862, or (504) 909-TUNA.

 

 

Original Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle.com

 

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