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Billfish

Oil slick causes Gulf Coast sport fishing tournaments to come up dry; at least dozen canceled

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Anglers hoping to hook blue marlin, tuna, swordfish, mackerel and other prizes catches in sport fishing tournaments along the Gulf Coast are mostly out of luck because of the massive oil spill fouling the waters.At least a dozen tournaments have been canceled. It's not only costing fishermen a chance to win nice purses, but organizers, bars, restaurants are out thousands of dollars.Kevin Sluder, chairman of Pensacola's July 4th International Billfish Tournament, called off the 40th annual version because the federal government has closed almost a quarter of the Gulf to fishing because of the five-week-old spill."I'm literally sick to my stomach thinking about this. I just hope they get it cleaned up and we aren't talking about this being canceled again next year," said Sluder, 32, and a Pensacola-area native who grew up fishing the Gulf with his father, a former tournament chairman.Gulf waters are home to mammoth fish, prized by contestants in all the tournaments...

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