800 Pound Marlin Worth 450K

Team nets well after putting up $6,000 in entry fees.

Brad Gill | June 26, 2018

First place in the 2018 Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic paid out $450,705 to the Florida team of Team Reel Addiction, thanks to a 796.9-lb. blue marlin they caught. It’s the largest payout in the tournament’s 22-year history.

The big marlin bit 170 miles offshore with very few minutes left of fishing time before the team had to make the long run back to weigh-in. Pensacola’s Chase Pate, of Pensacola, Fla, represented the team in accepting first place in the marlin category.

Pate told the Pensacola News Journal that, “It’s definitely the best fishing trip I’ve ever had in a tournament. Out of the 117 boats in the tournament, I mean, only half of them really have a chance at winning. The best anglers and fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico were there this weekend.”

The big marlin bit around 10:30, and it took about 45 minutes to get it aboard.


“It wasn’t a big explosion, the bait was under the water so we never saw it,” Pate said. “It wasn’t until we got close and (Reel Addiction mate) Zac Taylor got it on the wire that we really could see it good and could grasp how big of a fish it was. I could only reel to a certain point, and then Zac, the mate, had to grab the last 30 feet of line to pull it in. So once he did that, it was literally hand-to-hand combat with that thing.

“The fish went absolutely crazy when we got the gaff in there. It had been 30 minutes, and it never jumped until that point, so it had a lot of energy. It was 10 minutes of five grown men hanging onto this thing. Everything we had.”

The team did boat the fish and made it back to weigh-in on time.

If you’re thinking of competing in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Classic next year, start saving now. The entry fee for the 2018 tournament was $6,000 per boat.

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