OPIN­ION

Marlin - - CONTENTS | DEPARTMENTS - By Sue Cock­ing

HEATHER MAXWELL PI­RATE’ S COVE BILL FISH TOUR­NA­MENT MANTEO, NORTH CAR­OLINA

I feel that our tour­na­ment will look very much the same in two decades. Tour­na­ment or­ga­niz­ers might in­crease the blue mar­lin min­i­mum weight, and I think blue mar­lin kill cat­e­gories might dis­ap­pear in the fu­ture. Cer­tain tour­na­ments rely on the scales to de­ter­mine the win­ner, so they could po­ten­tially go away.

The Pi­rate’s Cove tour­na­ment could af­ford to lose the mar­lin kill cat­e­gory since our win­ners are usu­ally de­ter­mined by re­lease points. We haven’t killed a blue mar­lin in four years. And in 20 years, I would sus­pect the prize purse

would be gi­nor­mous.

BOBBY CARTER MIS­SIS­SIPPI GULF COAST BILL­FISH CLAS­SIC BILOXI, MIS­SIS­SIPPI

The min­i­mum length for blue mar­lin will be higher than it is now, and the boats will be a lot big­ger too. Twenty years ago, when a 54-foot Ber­tram pulled into the ma­rina, you thought it was the big­gest boat on earth. They’re 92 feet now. Add at least an­other 20-some­thing feet to them and tour­na­ment boats could be 100-plus feet for the stan­dard boat by then. The man­u­fac­tur­ers will come up with some­thing so­lar­pow­ered, just think­ing out of the box for that. And the elec­tron­ics are go­ing to be more so­phis­ti­cated as far as lo­cat­ing the fish. It will be in­ter­est­ing to see what the fu­ture brings.

DEI­DRE MENEFEE CAR­OLINA BILL­FISH CLAS­SIC CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAR­OLINA

I don’t think ev­ery tour­na­ment will go all-re­lease un­less the gov­ern­ment says we have to. There is still go­ing to be big money, and you can still have that with all-re­lease though. Peo­ple would like to see their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren are able to fish for blue mar­lin like they did 20 years ago. I can see a def­i­nite in­crease in kids’ fish­ing — from the 10-year-old grand­son to the 30-year-old mil­len­nial. Years ago, we had a big lull in youth an­glers; very few were par­tic­i­pat­ing in the tour­na­ments. This year, I took a pic­ture of a 15- or 16-year-old girl clean­ing her fish at the dock. Some­one like that will stick with it. The old days are com­ing around again. It’s a fam­ily event.

RANDY BRIGHT THE LONE STAR SHOOTOUT PORT O’CON­NOR, TEXAS

I think we’ll see all the tour­na­ments move to­ward an in­creas­ing em­pha­sis on re­leas­ing bill­fish. The trend now is to raise the min­i­mum size for [har­vest­ing] bill­fish. I don’t have any rea­son to see that it’s go­ing to go all-re­lease though, and at this point, we don’t see any rea­son to raise our limit. Right now, live bait ver­sus dead bait fish­ing for blue mar­lin is about 50-50, al­though live­bait­ing is be­com­ing more com­mon as a way to tar­get larger blue mar­lin. Things evolve. Some­body comes up with a bet­ter idea, but all the old ways still work.

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