What's Biting: The Greatest Show in Sportfishing
A fishing trip on the Alabama Gulf Coast is an experience that creates memories for you and your family that will last a lifetime. Fishing tales about catching the big one, the one that got away, or a first catch are stories told for years and each time the tale is told the experience becomes more exciting and the fish get bigger. This week, The Wharf is hosting an event that gives families a new fishing story to tell.
A fishing tale from a spectator's point of view at the weigh-ins for the tournament known as The Greatest Show in Sportfishing.
Except for maybe some big bass tournaments, fishing has never been much of a spectator sport, except here in Orange Beach.
The Blue Marlin Grand Championship is known to as The Greatest Show in Sportfishing. Last year more than 14,000 spectators gathered at the end of Main Street at The Wharf to watch the show. That is the largest crowd ever for an event at The Wharf including concerts. Orange Beach not only loves fishing, but we also love to see big fish.
The crowd is a mix of locals, fishermen, traveling baseball teams and vacationers from across the country. “The local fan loves to see these big fish and they know what they are in for during the weigh-ins but, our out of town guests that show up and have never seen a blue marlin before are the ones that really get excited,” said tournament director Chris Miller. The crowd is there to watch sixty-one teams compete for more than $1.5 million dollars in cash prizes in the categories of blue marlin, catch and release, tuna, wahoo and dolphin (mahi-mahi).
The tournament fleet is comprised of the best of the best tournament teams from the Gulf of Mexico. Of course, they are there for the competition and the chance at winning big money, but the fans are what they love. “The only thing that compares to the feeling of catching the tournament winning fish, is when you bring that fish to the scale on Main Street,” said local favorite and captain of the Breathe Easy, Patrick Ivie, from Orange Beach. “There is no other place in the fishing world that makes you feel like a rock star. When your name is announced at the Blue Marlin Grand Championship and you walk out on that stage, it is a feeling that you never forget.”
The weigh-ins are free to attend and take place on Friday night from 7-10pm and 5-10pm on Saturday. Fans can get up close and personal with the fish as they are brought through the crowd for kids of all ages to be able to look, touch and learn about these giants of the sea. The weigh-ins are also streamed live on online and the Saturday night weigh-in will also be broadcast live on Local 15 (NBC) in the Mobile and Pensacola markets as well as being simulcast to stations in Birmingham, Panama City, Biloxi and Nashville. “The television coverage not only showcases Orange Beach as the blue marlin capital of the Gulf, but also the great family atmosphere that is so much a part of the tournament and our beach community,” said Chris Miller.