The Gulf Cup Blue Marlin Shootout: Winner Takes All on July 4th! Which State Wins the Cup?



The Gulf Cup Blue Marlin Shootout: Winner Takes All on July 4th!
Which State Wins the Cup?

The Gulf of Mexico, United States—The Gulf Cup Blue Marlin Shootout pits not only the best fishing teams in the region against one another but also the associated marinas and even the states of the Gulf Coast in a new one-day, winner-take-all event to be held on the Fourth of July. At stake is a year’s worth of bragging rights in addition to significant prize money based on the number of participating boats.

The competition will be twofold: the team with the largest blue marlin takes home the cash but the city, state and even the weigh station that weighs the winning fish will take home the prestigious Gulf Cup trophy and bragging rights for the next twelve months. Imagine the tourism departments in each state printing the headlines the following day that the state of Texas (or Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi or Florida) has won the prestigious Gulf Cup, proving that the billfishing off their shores is indeed the best in the Gulf of Mexico.

The fishing boundaries will range from off South Padre Island, Texas to Key West, Florida, with lines in the water at 7:00 a.m. on July 4, 2013 and lines out at 4:30 p.m. (within each participating boat’s time zone). There are eight established weigh stations: two in Texas, three in Florida and one each in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The Texas locations are the Pelican Rest Marina in Galveston as well as the Fisherman’s Wharf Marina in Port Aransas; in Louisiana, Cypress Cove Marina in Venice; the Mississippi weigh station is at Barksdale Pavilion in Gulfport; for the state of Alabama it will be Orange Beach Marina, Orange Beach; and in Florida there will be weigh stations at Harbor Walk in Destin, Galati Yacht Sales in Anna Maria and Conch Harbor, Key West. The entry fee is just $3,000 per team and it’s winner take all!

The Tournament Director for this event is Robert “Fly” Navarro, a well-known and well respected member of the fishing community who has fished the marlin-rich waters of the world throughout his life. Navarro believes that the Gulf anglers, captains and mates can compete with anyone, anywhere and at any time. He has chosen a 110-inch minimum size for this event due to his conservation ethic as well as the fact that significant angling skills are required to land a blue marlin of that size. “We don’t want to see a lot of fish boated so with a 110-inch minimum we feel that this will lead to a 95 percent or greater release percentage,” he says. “This is a big-fish tournament, the way it should be in the Gulf of Mexico!”

There’s no better way to celebrate the Fourth of July than fishing for big blue marlin in the Gulf. For more information and to register for the Gulf Cup Blue Marlin Shootout, visit


Wendell Family Fireworks Show a Great way to Celebrate The Gulf Cup Win on the 4th of July!!!!


Wendell Family Fireworks Show on the 4th of July!!!!!

Mission: As a privately funded event, we have tried hard to grow the show year after year for our local community to enjoy with
family and friends. However, we could not have done this alone. Many families in Rockport, as well as friends from all over Texas
have contributed to make its success possible and its growth visible for all to enjoy.

We hope that the Wendell Family Fireworks tradition has been such a memorable part of your 4th of July celebration that you will
consider being a donor for our 2013 fireworks show.

This year, we are excited to celebrate its 48th anniversary, and blast off on Thursday night, the 4th of July. The show is set to start
at dark, around 9:30PM, and is promised to be one of the best yet!!

Wayde, Shawn, Jill and extended family member George More will continue the Wendell Family Fireworks tradition…generation after
generation…in honor of Jerry and Jan Wendell and with gratitude for the community’s strong support.
Over the years, the show has grown tremendously to be a privately funded effort. Our friends in Rockport and the monetary support
of the surrounding communities have made the success and growth possible. The community’s generosity in the past has been so
appreciated and has gone a long ways in helping fund our event. We hope that you will consider being one of our 2013 donors.


Done Deal strikes again with a 372.4 lb Blue Marlin & takes home $185,850.00


Tournament News – June 8, 2013
Published by, Inc.

Done Deal strikes again with a 372.4 lb Blue Marlin & takes home $185,850.00

The 2013 Cajun Canyons Billfish Classic is now in the record books. Facing a nasty offshore forecast for our scheduled departure afternoon of Thursday, May 30, a total of 31 sport fishing yachts, ranging in length from 35’ to 76’, fished for a total purse of $459,000.00.

Tuesday, May 28, our festivities started with our Dock Party, hosted by Rene Cross and the staff of Cypress Cove Marina & Lodge, along with the Island Bar & Grill. Everyone enjoyed the wonderful food, including the barbecued chicken, jambalaya, cole slaw, and baked beans. Hats off to Rene and Brad for a wonderful spread.

Wednesday, May 29, was our Official Registration Day along with “let’s keep an eye on the forecast”. Registration started at 2pm, but when the 4pm marine forecast appeared, we made the call to push back our departure and fishing days for the safety of our participants. Our Captains Meeting and Kick-Off Party, sponsored by the good people of LeBeouf Brothers Towing, started at 7pm with the announcement that “boats will depart Friday, May 31 at 8am and now return, Sunday, June 2 at 2pm, extending our normal fishing hours with a better forecast than our original Thursday afternoon departure. Those wonderful people from Acme Oyster House out did themselves again for our Kick-Off Party with boiled shrimp, fried shrimp, gumbo, fried and raw oysters, red beans & rice, all the trimmings and of course, their world famous bread pudding. . Most everyone enjoyed themselves possibly a little too much, knowing they were not leaving the dock the next day!

Thursday, May 30, everyone enjoyed our TABASCO Bloody Mary Hangover Clinic prior to our final Optional Entries deadline of 1pm. Father Jerry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Port Sulphur continued that fine Louisiana tradition of “the blessing of the fleet” mid-afternoon Thursday, while everyone was still preparing for the new Friday morning departure.

8am Friday morning, May 31, and they’re off with lines in the water immediately, only to find the fishing somewhat slow. Late Friday afternoon both C-Ya and Reel Worthless called in Blue Marlin releases, with the radio being rather quiet.

Saturday morning, the bite improved with multiple boats calling in both hook ups and releases. Then, the Done Deal called in to report a boated Blue Marlin measuring 102 inches, but was over 100 miles off shore. They made the decision to keep fishing for releases and called in a released Blue Marlin at 10:22 am, then started the long journey back to Venice. Done Deal arrived at the docks of Cypress Cove Marina & Lodge at 5:45 pm flying both a Blue Marlin release flag and an upside down Blue Marlin flag. Their fish measured 101.25 inches and weighed 372.4 lbs and the champagne started flowing while they refueled.

Sunday morning was slow on the radio, until boats starting arriving for the scales to open at 12 noon.

We saw some nice fish at the scales and heard many “fish stories” about the “one that got away”, but the Done Deal 372.4 lb. Blue Marlin was the only Blue Marlin boated, giving them a payout of $185,850.00.

Our Tag/Release division, sponsored by our friends at Release Marine, was won by Team Smooth Finish , a 54’ Bertram, led by owner/angler Brad Aery out of Rockport, Texas with 2 Blue Marlin releases and 1 White Marlin release. Team C-Ya, a 65’ Blackwell, led by owner/angler Joel Broussard, fishing out of Grand Isle, Louisiana finished in 2nd place on time with 2 Blue Marlin releases, followed by Team Done Deal, a 56’ Viking fishing out of Houma, Louisiana finished in 3rd place with 2 Blue Marlin releases. Our Tag/Release winners all received gorgeous, custom-inlayed teak step boxes, compliments of founding Sponsor Release Marine (thanks Sam and Melissa).

Our Dolphin division was won by Sydney Turner, fishing on her dad’s 72’ F & S custom yacht, You Never Know!, with a 34.8 lb Dolphin. Team Reel Worthless, a 64’ Viking, led by owner/angler Johnny Johnson, based in Brandon, Mississippi, took 2nd place with a 33.5 lb Dolphin. Third Place Dolphin, went to Team Miss Remy, a 60’ Carolina Sportsman, fishing out of Venice, Louisiana with angler Manning McPhillips and owner Rene Cross, weighing in at 31.9 lbs.

Our Tuna division was won by Team C-Ya, with angler Chris Callahan weighing in a nice 151.2 lb yellowfin tuna. Second place Tuna went to Team Tico Time, a 65’ Hatteras out of Rockport, Texas, with owner/angler Dennis Wilkerson weighing in at 140.5 lbs. Third Place tuna went to Team Conundrum, a 61’ Viking based in Orange Beach, Al with angler Kenny McMaster weighing in at 138.7 lbs.

Our Top Female Angler Trophy, sponsored by Maui Jim Sunglasses, went to Sydney Turner fishing on the You Never Know! Sydney weighed in 3 Dolphin, 34.8 lbs, 29.3 lbs, and 25.6 lbs, along with a 38.6 lb Wahoo and a 72.0 lb Yellowfin Tuna. She was awarded a custom trophy, a Maui Jim gift bag complete with Top Female Angler robe, assorted gifts from and Professional Sports Shop, along with a gift certificate for a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses.

Our Top Youth Angler was 12 year old Jansen Pellegrin, fishing on his dads 45’ Cabo, Caboom, out of Cocodrie, Louisiana. Jansen caught a 25.2 lb. Dolphin and a 31.7 lb. Yellow fin tuna. Young Jansen was awarded the Jim Peachy Memorial Trophy as our top Youth Angler.

Team Done Deal was awarded the C.R. Bob Potter Memorial Trophy as our Top Boat with 1,572 billfish points. Team Done Deal also received an invitation to fish the Offshore World Championship as the Cajun Canyons is a qualifying event for the World Championship. The combination of the weighed Blue Marlin and third place in Tag/Release will surely boost Team Done Deal’s standing in the Gulf Coast Triple Crown Series.

Continuing our tradition of “taking care of the working Captains”, our winning Captains were awarded gift bags with numerous gifts from, along with a TABASCO gift bucket.

When all was said and done, we ended up with 8 Blue Marlin releases, and 4 White Marlin releases and 1 Blue Marlin at the scales. We want to take this opportunity to thank ALL our participants and especially our loyal sponsors, the Best of the Best; please support them as they truly offer the finest products and services available. In closing, we hope to see all of you again next year the weekend after Memorial Day.


Steve Thomas
Tournament Director


74th Annual Texas International Fishing Tournament


Texas International Fishing Tournament

Surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Laguna Madre Bay and Gulf of Mexico, Port Isabel and South Padre Island play host to Texas’ largest saltwater fishing tournament—the Texas International Fishing Tournament. The tournament starts with late registration on Wednesday and Thursday with a special Playday for junior anglers on Thursday.

Scheduled to be held July 31-Aug. 4, 2013 TIFT is expected to attract as many as 1500 anglers and more than 500 boats during its two days of fishing activities.

TIFT is open to anglers of all ages and levels of experience. And remember, when it comes to big catches, luck often wins over skill! We hope to see you at the 73rd!

Calendar of Events for 2013

Posted on Mar 14, 2012 in Blog

Wednesday July 31

Registration: 3-8pm SPI Cenvention Centre on South Padre Island

Thursday August 1

Playday: A family day of fun and contest for the kids at SPI Convention Centre. Games and prizes 10am-1pm

Registration: SPI Convention Centre from 9am to 9pm

Captains’ Meeting: 5 pm SPI Convention Centre

Supper: SPI Convention Center 6pm Live entertainment by Sam Riggs, 7-9 pm

Friday August 2

Fishing Contest: Begins at 6:30am (Bay Division) and 7:00am (Offshore Division). Weigh station opens at 2-8pm at Southpoint Marina. Dock time – 5:00pm (Bay Division) and 8:00pm (Offshore Division).

Saturday August 3

Fishing Contest: Begins at 6:30am (Bay Division) and 7:00am (Offshore Division). Weigh station opens at 2-7pm at Southpoint Marina. Dock time – 5:00pm (Bay Division) and 7:00pm (Offshore Division).

Sunday August 4

Lunch: SPI Convention Centre, 11:30am

Awards Presentation: SPI Convention Centre, 1pm

Contact TIFT


P.O. Box 2715
South Padre Island, TX 78597


Tuesday Night: Rockin’ on A-Dock


Tuesday Night: Rockin’ on A-Dock

The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin is well-known for having a terrific line-up of social functions throughout the week, and this year’s tournament continues that tradition.

Early arrivals to Baytowne Marina will be treated to a Tuesday evening Dock Party on June 18 courtesy of Joe Donovan Insurance. They’ll be serving up a shrimp and crab boil on A-Dock for tournament participants starting at 6pm. A cash bar will also be available. So make plans now to attend the kickoff Dock Party with Joe Donovan Insurance!


Outboards Only Offshore Challenge!!!!!


1st Annual “Outboards Only” Offshore Fishing Tournament will be held July 5th-6th 2013 out of Redfish Bay Boathouse. Winner Take All Billfish Blowout Division! Kingfish, Dolphin, Wahoo, Tuna, and Ling 50/30/20 Payout!

Faces of the ECBC | Steve Levi, Video Judge

Faces of the ECBC | Steve Levi, Video Judge

May 29, 2013 | Sam White

Making the call on whether a billfish be scored as a release during a tournament is a tough and often thankless job. But despite the stress levels, it’s also intensely rewarding for those judges who have dedicated themselves to the concept of catch-and-release billfishing.

When points differ between species and tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars could be on the line, it’s good to know the person doing the judging has the experience and qualifications to make an accurate ruling.

We spoke with Steve Levi recently who, along with Dewey Blaylock, does the release video judging for the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. Here’s what he had to say about his background, his experience with being an observer and release verification judge, along with tips for release videos:

How long have you been fishing and judging releases?
“I started my saltwater fishing career with my father in Dauphin Island, Alabama and it escalated to chasing marlin and sailfish in the Gulf of Mexico and internationally after that. I started as an observer in 1995 in the Boy Scout tournament on St. Thomas—this was before the IGFA started their official observer certification program where I later served as an instructor. I’m the video verification judge for several of the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club tournaments and have been with the ECBC almost every year since it started. Over the years I’ve reviewed hundreds of videos that have been worth tens of thousands of dollars.”

What makes for the perfect release video review?
“For Dewey and me it only takes about five minutes to review a video if it’s set up correctly and the video is rewound to the start of the action. We need to have a good look at the fish, and that means getting the pectoral and anal fins in case we need to tell if it’s a white marlin from a blue marlin. We also need to see the angler, the tournament designator, the official release where the mate touches the leader or the knot hits the rod tip, and the GPS with the date and time of release, all in one clip. That would be the perfect video review. We call it video verifying, not disqualifying—we want everyone to get their points for a release, so if it takes a little extra time that’s fine with us.”

What are some common mistakes people can avoid when they’re shooting release videos?
“Some problem areas are things like an unclear shot due to water spots or condensation on the camera lens—always keep it clean! Then there are having different shots on different cameras: the release is on one, the tournament designator on another one and the GPS on the third camera. Try to get everything you need on one camera and in one shot without turning it off and on again. Over-zooming and moving the camera around too much is another issue. You’re a lot better off to keep it on a wide angle and stay in one place to make sure you get the shot.”

A Note from the Writer…
I wrote an article last year called Video Verification – Shoot to Win. Now would be the perfect time to give it a review!

Additional Information
• Sign up for our newsletter.
• For more information about the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic visit our website:
• To contact the Tournament Director email Shawna Harris or call 850-267-6168.
• Use the following link to download an entry form: 2013 Entry Form.

The Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is hosted by Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and presented by Mojo Sportfishing Gear.


MGCBC 2013 Total Purse – $1.5 Million is well within reach!


By Capt. Dave Lear
It will be a title worthy of its namesake. When fishing ends and all the scores are finally tabulated, the top boat in the 2013 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic will receive the Sonny Middleton Award. The new distinction was created in honor of Ralph “Sonny” Middleton, the owner of Dog River Marina and A&M Yacht Sales in Mobile, Alabama. Middleton is a tireless advocate for the sport-fishing community and conservation in the central Gulf.

“Sonny has a heart of gold and he’s supported the Classic since Day One,” says Tournament Director Bobby Carter. “He’s well-liked and well-respected by everyone. He has always been willing to share ideas on ways we can improve the tournament and he’s been a champion of billfish conservation for as long as I can remember. It’s only fitting that the Classic’s Top Boat Award is now named in his honor.”

Last October, Middleton was the recipient of The Billfish Foundation’s Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award. Created in honor of the late John Rybovich, the legendary boat-builder and early conservation advocate, it is the foundation’s most distinguished award.

“Your long-term commitment to billfish conservation, sport-fishing tournaments and the recreational boating industry throughout the Gulf of Mexico has been exemplary,” noted TBF President Ellen Peel. “In advancing each of these endeavors as owner and operator of Dog River Marina you have maintained a level of integrity and positive community involvement far beyond what is necessary for business success. You are a legend in the Gulf, one that TBF is proud to be associated with and to honor.”

“This is a total surprise,” Middleton said when he learned of the newly-created Classic award. “I’ve been blessed. My dad was in the boat business and I took it over many, many years ago. But I don’t feel like I’ve worked a day in my life, it’s all just been a lot of fun. I have to give all the credit to my 37 great employees, who are my big family, plus all our great customers and great captains. I owe it all to them.

“When we first started there were only a couple tournaments in the Gulf. But Bobby and his crew have done a good job of building a first-class event. It’s in an excellent spot, it’s good for the economy and everybody has a fun time. We’re proud to have been a part of it since the beginning.”

The 2013 Classic kicks off Monday, June 3, with a welcome party. The festivities continue the next night with a dockside party at the Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi. Following the Go Deep Golf Scramble Wednesday morning, there will be the mandatory captains meeting Wednesday at the Golden Nugget Casino, the host resort. The boat parade gets underway at noon on Thursday, with fishing continuing through Saturday. Scales open at 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and all boats must be checked in by 9 p.m. Saturday night.

On Sunday morning, tired but happy anglers and crew will gather in the Golden Nugget to collect the numerous trophies and checks. But only one boat will receive the top honor–the Sonny Middleton Award–and that will be a fitting tribute.

You Never Know with at 120 inch 756LB Blue Marlin



You Never Know” with at 120 inch 756LB Blue Marlin during the 36th Annual 2013 MBGFC Memorial Day Tournament!!!!!


36th Annual 2013 MBGFC Memorial Day Tournament

memorial_logo36th Annual 2013 MBGFC Memorial Day Tournament

May 24 – 27, 2013
Friday May 24 – Registration: 4 – 8 pm. $250 per angler with a minimum of
4 anglers for boats over 32 feet, and 3 anglers for boats 32 feet and under.
Registration received by 5 pm, Wednesday, May 22, $200 per angler.
Dinner and Kick-off Party: presented by Gulf Coast Hatteras, 6 – 8 pm.
Mandatory Captain’s Meeting: 8 pm Tournament officially begins and boats may
leave after mandatory sign-out from the captain’s meeting by captain or owner.
Saturday, May 25 – Fishing: MBGFC Weigh Dock opens 5 pm and closes at 9 pm.
Outboard Shootout Division Weigh-Ins: Weigh Dock will be open form 5 – 8.
Outboard Boats must enter Perdido Pass rocks by 8:00  Download Format Info
Sunday, May 26 – Fishing: MBGFC Weigh Dock opens 5 pm and closes at 9 pm.
Boats must inside the Perdido Pass rocks by 8 pm.
Monday, May 27 – Champions Breakfast: 9:30 am in the Food Tent[facebook_like_button]


Latest Posts


Robert "Fly" Navarro