Tournament History
updated 02/23/2012

The largest blue marlin ever weighed in Florida, 1,046.0 lbs., was caught by Conrad Hawkins on the Lucky 2 in 2001. The second largest blue marlin ever weighed in Florida, 998.6 lbs., was caught by Barry Carr on the Sea Wolf in 2006. Both fish were weighed at the Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament. Now that's a record no other tournament can equal!

Twenty-eight years ago a group of local Panama City fishing enthusiasts proposed a billfishing contest to the owners of the Bay Point Yacht & Country Club. The idea wasn't exactly new. Bay Point had sponsored numerous tournaments over the years, but the ownership of Bay Point changed hands frequently in the 1970s and early 1980s and no tournament was able to establish itself as an ongoing event. In 1984, however, plans were announced to expand the Bay Point marina, refurbish and expand Bay Point's clubhouse and build a second golf course within the resort as well as a Marriott hotel and numerous new residential developments. Clearly, Bay Point was on the move. All of a sudden there was some urgency to put the marina and the resort "on the map".

There have been other changes too. The day Joey Chapman weighed in the first blue marlin ever brought to the Tournament dock there were few spectators there to offer congratulations. Today thousands flock to the Bay Point Marina to take part in the festivities which surround the tournament and cheer as each fish is weighed on Friday and Saturday evening. The Wednesday and Thursday night Captain & Fleet Party, once a sleepy affair brought to an early evening conclusion, has become Bay County's party of the year.

The rules, too, have changed, with a much greater emphasis placed on conservation. Sailfish and white marlin have disappeared from the leader board. In 1984, a one hundred pound blue marlin was a legal tournament catch. Today a blue marlin must measure at least 103 inches, and the use of circle hooks is mandatory. Ever bigger prizes, bigger fish, bigger parties and bigger crowds are all a part of this tournament's history.

Other changes, particularly in the last few years, have been made to extend the success and popularity of the tournament. Fishing hours have been extended, events have become more focused on the entertainment of tournament participants and sponsors, services have been improved and fishing rules have been strengthened. Perhaps most importantly, all proceeds from the tournament are now devoted to charity.