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      Nature Report: Tournament Time in Texas

      The largest saltwater fishing tournament on the Texas coast casts off this week as the Texas International Fishing Tournament or TIFT launches its 73rd year in Port Isabel.

      Tournament Director Betty Wells is anticipating an outstanding tournament that will attract large crowds to the dock at Southpoint Marina in Port Isabel Friday and Saturday afternoon.

      Betty Wells, Tournament Director, said, We are looking towards a great turnout. We expect over 1200 registrants, more than 400 boats and some beautiful fish coming into the dock.

      Last year's tournament featured exceptional catches in the bay and offshore divisions highlighted by a 555 pound blue marlin.

      "Last year we had 88 billfish caught during TIFT, and if we do that level again this year it is going to be pretty exciting for the spectators too," said Wells.

      The goal of the Texas International Fishing Tournament is to create a quality fishing event for all anglers, and there are special events for youngsters including Playday at the South Padre Island Convention on Thursday.

      Well, "I think what makes this tournament so successful is that it is a family tradition, and some of the young people that fished it in the piggy perch division are now back with their own children," Wells said.

      If you are interested in participating in this year's tournament there is still plenty of time to get on board.

      Wells says, "Registration starts Wednesday from three to eight, continues all day Thursday from 9 to 9 at the South Padre Island Convention Center, and until Tuesday at 5 o'clock they can still register online at TIFT.org