Mollie wins Mobile blue marlin tournament

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

Out of 48 boats participating, Destin’s Capt. Jeff Shoults and the crew aboard the Mollie pulled in the biggest blue marlin, a 613.8 pounder, to win the Mobile Big Game Fishing Club’s 43rd annual Memorial Day Tournament held out of Orange Beach.

In the holiday tournament, the fish do not go to waste. More than 1,300 pounds of fish caught for the tournament were donated to feed those in need.

Fish from the tournament, including the big blue, were donated to Mike Mckinley of One Meal food pantry out of Mobile.

On Tuesday, Mckinley posted on his Facebook page that he was offering to those in need a meal that included one fruit/veggie box and a bag of blue marlin.

And those that fish the tournaments do everything they can to keep the fish fresh until they get to the scales so they can help feed others.

“We make sure the fish stays iced well in an insulated billfish bag so it is in great condition,” Shoults posted on his Facebook page.

Not only did Shoults win for biggest blue marlin, but his crew won the tag and release division. They released one marlin on Friday about 150 pounds, then caught the winning blue Saturday morning. They hooked up with one more on Saturday that weighed between 400 and 500 pounds, and then caught and released about a 200-pounder on Sunday.

In 2017, the Mollie won the tag and release division and had the second largest fish, but this is the first time Shoults and crew have won tag and release and big fish.

The only other blue marlin caught during this tournament was brought in by the Iona Louise. They came in second with a 538 pounder.

Fishing for the tournament was good, but things were done a bit differently due to COVID-19.

Shoults explained that fishermen went in, weighed their fish and then got back on their boat.

“They were doing as much social distancing as possible,” Shoults said.

He said they even had the captains meeting via Facebook live.

“They are doing everything they can (to keep people safe),” he said.

“And we are all doing our part right now to do our social distancing and do what the government tells us,” Shoults added.

This was the Mollie’s second big fish tournament this season. They fished the Orange Beach Billfish Classic a few weeks ago and caught a bunch of tuna, but no marlin.

And again, all the fish were donated to the One Meal food bank.

Up next for the crew aboard the Mollie is the Biloxi Billfish Tournament on June 4-6 in Biloxi, Mississippi, and then the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, June 17-21.

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