5 marlins caught on first day of weigh-ins at ECBC (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Sam Grubenhoff
Northwest Florida Daily News

DESTIN — Call it a blue marlin bonanza.

After just one of the coveted billfish was caught at the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic a year, five were caught on Friday alone only one day into the 2019 contest, though only two made it to the scales at Baytowne Marina.

At 9 a.m., angler Marina Adams and the crew of Pullin’ Wire were the first to way their marlin, which tipped the scales at 505 pounds and measured 114 inches.

Two hours later, angler Jeff Cultan and the crew of Triple Threat topped those marks to climb atop the leaderboards with a 113-inch, 538-pound marlin.

Not yet making it to the scales, angler Wes Long and the crew of Mollie wrangled Friday’s longest catch, a 125-inch blue. They are scheduled to weigh in Saturday, as are angler Charlie Thomas and the crew of Fins Up, who caught 113-inch blue, and angler McKenzie Davis and the crew of Southern Charm, who caught a 111-inch blue.

Depending on the weight of the billfish, each will be up for a share of the $1,747,700 prize pot.

A year ago, angler Nick Pratt and the crew of It Just Takes Two brought the only blue marlin of the tournament back to Baytowne Marina; their 114-inch, 574-pound catch fetched them an ECBC record $596,000.

However, the massive marlin still measured up short to 2017’s winner, a 699.2-pounder reeled in by Can’t Deny It, which itself is well short of the ECBC record-holder; in 2015, angler Lance Hill of Orange Beach, Alabama, and the crew of Cotton Patch hauled in a tournament best 899.6-pound marlin.

Per tournament rules, eligible fish must be at least 110 inches long to qualify. That minimum is measured from the tip of the fish’s lower jaw to the fork of the tail.

Live scoring for the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic is available online at ecbc.catchstat.com.