ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — The organizers of the highly successful Blue Marlin Grand Championship, one of the cornerstone tournaments on the highly competitive Gulf of Mexico marlin circuit, have announced a new event that’s part throwback to the past and part futuristic thinking. Called simply, The Invitational, which is slated for August 6-8, 2020, will feature a field limited to just 30 teams, and a first-place prize of a cool one million dollars. Boats may depart from any port in the Gulf of Mexico, with the weigh-in held at The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach, Alabama.
“We asked a number of the top boat owners and captains that are currently fishing in these tournaments in the Gulf about what they would like to see in a new event,” says tournament promoter Scott Burt. “Their overwhelming response was two-fold: They wanted to know who they were fishing against, and that they wanted to fish for a million dollars for the winner.” Many of those same owners and captains still have fond memories of the Bay Point Invitational, a once-popular event with tremendous dockside camaraderie, upon which The Invitational drew much of its inspiration and support.
The futuristic part? That lies in the scoring. With a minimum qualifying length of 112 inches LJFL, blue marlin will be scored at one point per pound. Released blue marlin are worth 625 points, although it’s clearly stated in the rules that the heaviest qualifying blue marlin will win first place. Second place through fourth place will be decided by a combination of release and weighed fish points. However, in the event that no qualifying fish are weighed, only at that point will release points decide the overall winner. Therefore, it is possible that there could be a seven-figure payday for billfish releases in the Gulf of Mexico.
Another interesting twist: there are no optional jackpots. The Invitational is an all-in format, with a flat entry fee of $50,000 per boat. Aside from the million dollars awarded to first, second place will earn $145,000, third place is worth $100,000 and fourth, $75,000. All releases will be verified by video using standard tournament practices, and all winning anglers and captains will be polygraphed.
A limited number of entries remain available for this year’s inaugural tournament, so request an invitation today by contacting Jim Cox at (251) 802-2664, or by email: TheInvitational@CMMMarinas.com. To review the event’s rules, schedule of events, FAQ and more, visit www.milliondollarmarlin.com.