Event draws fishing lovers near and far
Headline Surfer photos by Serafina Frederick / The Billfish Invitational is Oct. 10-13 here in New Smyrna Beach from the Brannon Center.
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- Tina Pisula was all smiles when her husband, George, pulled up to the dock at Riverside Park aboard the "Double G" with two sailfish, a black fin tuna and a dolphin in the New Smyrna Beach Billfish Invitational.
"We've won it twice, we've gotten second twice," the New Smyrna Beach resident said with a big smile of her family's showing in the annual event that drew 24 large boats, a typical field.
Among the items anglers compete in are longest and shortest catches as well as variety in catches.
The "Double G" stands for George Pisula and pre-teen son, George Pisula Jr., the proud mother said.
Those who attend the event station at the Brannon Center and the docks at Riverside Park along the Intracoastal Waterway, enjoy several booths featuring food and soft drinks, performances of a live band and plenty of comaraderie.
The fall fishing invitational, a staple of tourism for the past decade-and-a-half, continues in October, with increased funding approved today by the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority. It typical draws upwards of 10,000-15,000 people over an extended weekend.
The fall fishing invitational, a staple of tourism for the past decade-and-a-half, continues in October, with increased funding approved today by the Southeast Volusia Advertising Authority. It typical draws hundreds of people over an extended weekend.
The SVAA board members agreed to provide $10,000 in funding, a slight bump over what the tournament's organizers received last year, which was music to the ears of Billfish organizer Jon Zeller.
"Thank you," Zeller told the board, noting oprior to the unanimous funding vote that the tiurney participants typicallymake overnight accommodations in hotels like the Hampton Inn and the Riverview Hotel, both on Flagler Avenue on New Smyrna's beachside.
The ad authority operates through the New Smyrna Beach Visitor's Center, State Road 44, with a $2.5 million budget from bed taxes via overnight hotel and private condo rental accommodations.
The funding is shared with the county and state with events organized to attract visitors from outside Volusia County.
In addition to the tournament itself, the Billfish Invitational has provided $140,000 in donations for college schoalarships for graduating seniors of New Smyrna Beach High School, whose longstanding monikor is the "'Cudas."