The 2021 MONGO Offshore Challenge is a record setting event. Building on a first year that produced 66 teams, an Alabama State Record Blue Marlin, a Texas Junior Swordfish Record and yellowfin tuna division that was won on the 153 days tournament’s last weekend, the MONGO has gone where no tournament in the Gulf has gone before.
The 2021 MONGO Offshore Challenge set a new Gulf Coast bluewater tournament record with an incredible 132 participating boats. These boats represent all of the five Gulf Coast states, ranging from southern Texas to the Gulf Coast of Florida.
The tournament’s format is the same. It is a Gulf of Mexico wide, season long quest to catch the biggest (most huMONGOus) blue marlin, swordfish, tuna, wahoo and mahi.
The tournament is chock full of weather windows, is designed to get people out fishing (its rules are designed to encourage fishing… not make people do anything crazy), and is a boat-based event that permits anyone fishing on the boat during the season to participate. Boats also have the option to enter or not enter any category they wish. Participants can get into a world class, bluewater tournament for as little as $500.
2021 MONGO Fleet
Illustrating the MONGO’s universal appeal, participating boats range from a 21’ center console to a 105’ Cajun expedition vessel. Of the 132 boats:
- 70 are fly bridge sportfishers. 12 of which are enclosed bridge boats;
- 31 mono hull center consoles;
- 22 catamaran center consoles;
- 8 express boats, and;
- 1 expedition vessel—that, complete with outriggers, trolls everywhere it goes at its top speed of 10-knots. The guys on the C-Quest crush it and have a great story, too.
The Gulf Coast bluewater tournament culminated in a wild wave of registration that lasted until the final minutes of the deadline— 11:59 pm on the night of April 28. The last day of registration met with tournament organizers Captain Jeremy Cox, J.D. Cox and Brian Johnson fielding calls until past 11:00 at night and registering more than 40 last minute sign ups.
The field includes nine charter boats.
Like last year, the big ticket category is the blue marlin. The MONGO’s format—with a 118” minimum and payment only to first place—encourages release of the most blue marlin encountered in the Gulf.
Not only is the 118” threshold a high one, but payment of only one spot means that the threshold increases with each fish brought to the scales. In this way, MONGO lives up to its motto, “Let the small go so that they can grow!”
The blue marlin category—with a $2,500 entry—features 53 boats competing for a purse of $112,625.
The tournament’s largest category by entries is the mahi division. 104 boats, each wagering $500, are competing for a purse of $61,625. This prize includes the roll over from last year’s event—when no qualifying dolphin were brought to the scales.
A Showcase of the Gulf Coast Sportfishing Community
The 2021 edition of the MONGO greets participating boats with a new website, a real time app that allows boats to check in anglers and check out for days fishing, and even more weigh stations than last year—20 in total.
The weigh stations span the Gulf Coast from Port Isabel, Texas to St. Petersburg, Florida. MONGO weigh stations are located in each of the five Gulf states.
In addition to the expanded weigh station network, the 2021 MONGO features a newly designed website and app. Boats can check out for days of fishing and register anglers through the app. While the checking out must be done at the time of leaving the dock, captains can register anglers ahead of time—saving time.
The app and website not only serve the tournament and anglers—providing real time leader updates, but also the tournament’s sponsors. As the Gulf Coast sportfishing scene is a close knit community, the tournament takes pride in its ability to showcase businesses and products that support it.
2021 MONGO: Early Action
The first day of the 2021 MONGO’s 155 fishing days was April 29. While the Gulf’s bluewater season is just kicking off, the action is coming in hot.
Angler Lainey James on the 42’ Freeman, Necessity, is taking home the first fish Calcutta with a 211 pound qualifying swordfish. At the time of this writing, Game Plan III is leading the swordfish division with a respectable 258-pounder.
The wahoo division also has an early qualifier. The Pensacola-based Rigged Right, posted a 63.5 pound blue torpedo that is holding the lead in perhaps the tastiest division of the tournament.
2021 MONGO Updates and News
For updates on leaderboards and MONGO events along the Gulf this summer, check out the tournament’s website: www.MONGOoffshore.com . FishTravelEat is excited to relate more great MONGO fishing stories as they happen…