Billfish Classic brought big fish, big boats, big dollars to Grand Isle, Venice

The crew of the Miss Maysen, captained by Danny Watts and angled by Brandon Babin, with their championship 642-pound blue marlin. (Photo courtesy Fred Salinas)

Big boats. Big fish. Live TV. And yes, a big deal.

That’s what the Louisiana Gulf Coast Billfish Classic brought to south Louisiana May 3-7 as big game fishing pros from across the country took part in the latest stop on the tour, hosted by Hurricane Hole Marina and Resort in Grand Isle and Cypress Cove Marina in Venice.

Part of the Sport Fishing Championship Series, the event aired live on CBS Sports. More than $500,000 in prizes were taken home by the visiting fishermen.

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Big blue

First place in the event went to Miss Maysen, captained by Danny Watts and angled by Brandon Babin. They landed a 642-pound blue marlin and won the grand prize of $31,998.40.

Second place went to Team Supreme with a 535-pound blue marlin and third place went to Quick Time with a 471.5-pound blue marlin.

Other categories in the week-long event included white marlin, swordfish, tuna, dolphin and wahoo. The heaviest tuna in the tournament was captured by Rising Sons with a 147.50-pounder.

But the big tuna news of the week came with non-competitor David Machado of Biloxi landing an 810-pound bluefin tuna. It was the talk of the dock all week long.

It wasn’t an official catch of the tournament, but David Machado of Biloxi landed an 810-pound bluefin tuna during the week, which was the talk of the dock for days. (Photo courtesy Seabrook Harbor & Marine)

“This is an amazing event and an amazing group of anglers,” said tournament director Robbie Carter. Carter runs the event and coordinates the activities. A native of Lafayette, he now resides in Ocean Springs, Mississippi.

“These fishermen travel from event to event all the way from Texas to the Florida Keys,” he said. “Just watching the anglers and seeing their fabulous boats makes it worth coming to the event. The average price of their fishing boats is around five million dollars apiece. This year, we had 32 teams and we look forward to having them back again next year.

Specific purpose

The event first came to Louisiana in 2020 and the group not only fishes, but works to promote the sport of billfishing, boost local fishing economies and to create a positive impact on the Gulf Coast region, Carter said.

“The results were outstanding and it calls a great deal of attention to our area and brings in fishermen from everywhere,” he said. “It’s great for our marinas and a real boost to the economy in this part of the state and as everybody knows, they certainly need that after all they’ve been through.”

About Kinny Haddox 592 Articles
Kinny Haddox has been writing magazine and newspaper articles about the outdoors in Louisiana for 45 years. He publishes a daily website, and is a member of the Louisiana Chapter of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame. He and his wife, DiAnne, live in West Monroe.