The richest fishing tournament in Destin kicks off this June and Southern is proud to offer vacation homes and condos to anglers and spectators! From June 21-25, the 15th Annual Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic takes place at the Baytowne Marina in Destin. This isn’t just another marlin tournament. It’s one of the most highly anticipated events of the year, with a prize purse of more than two million dollars!

For five days, teams from across the region take to the emerald water of Destin in search of the largest blue marlin in the Gulf of Mexico. Last year’s top prize went to Rise Up from Savannah Georgia. With an 838.2 pound blue marlin, the team’s payout was $431,835. Their win was a bittersweet defeat for the Breathe Easy team, previously in first place with an 835.8 pound marlin. A mere 2.4 pounds bumped Breathe Easy to second place. Their quarter of a million dollar prize, however, wasn’t a bad consolation.

For an even greater prize, enter the classic’s optional jackpots and rack up on releases. Last year’s first place release team caught four blue marlins and earned a payout of $241,000!

Teams also win cash for record-setting catches. The Aldente team caught a record-breaking bull dolphin, more commonly called mahi mahi. The fish weighed 36.6 pounds and warranted a cash payout of more than $125,000!

Of course, you’re likely to spot more than billfish during the classic. Celebrity sightings are equally as common during any fishing tournament in Destin. The owner of Aldente is none other than celebrity chef and Food Network star Emeril Lagasse! Lagasse decided to call Destin home about six years ago, after braving the brutal winters of Manhattan. His newest restaurant, Emeril’s Coastal Italian, located in Grand Boulevard (right next to Baytowne), is scheduled to open just in time for the classic.

For the anglers’ friends and family staying on dry land throughout the tournament, the Village of Baytowne Wharf offers shopping, dining, and entertainment.  For kids, consider Blast Arcade, a rock wall, carousel, or euro bungee. Plus, local merchants and seafood restaurants abound.

Find your Destin vacation home or condo for the Emerald Coast Blue Marlin Classic. Search Southern’s vacation rentals.