Shark tourney underway, competition runs through Sunday­

(June 14, 2013) Today, Friday, is the second of four fishing days for anglers participating in the 33rd annual Ocean City Shark Tournament.

Thirteen have entered into this year’s competition, so far, and three fished Thursday.

Boats were originally scheduled to go out two of three days, Thursday through Saturday, June 13-15, but because of poor weather conditions forecasted, tournament organizers added Sunday, June 16, as a fishing day.

Registration fee is $650 per team for up to three anglers for those interested in fishing today, Saturday and/or Sunday. Additional anglers can be added at $50 per angler, up to a total crew of six. A one-day charter boat team registration is also available for $350, for up to six anglers.

To sign up, contact tournament Director Mark Sampson at 410-213-2442.

All catches will be weighed at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City from 3:30-7 p.m. Spectators are invited to watch the weigh-ins.

Sampson aims to make the weigh-ins educational, teaching those in attendance about the different shark species. Children are invited to sit front-row to get an up-close look at the fish being weighed. Primary divisions for the event, which has become one of the largest shark tournaments on the East Coast, are mako, open (threshers and blue shark only), release and bluefish. There are also tuna and dolphin divisions.

“The fish are here, just the weather’s been so unpredictable,” Sampson said. “There’s a nice mix of sharks now.”

Each year, Ocean City Shark Tournament organizers strive to provide the best event possible, but not at the expense of sharks. A small number of sharks are brought to the scale annually and those that are weighed are most often “contender fish.” This is because Sampson stresses the importance of conservation and reminds participants of the leader board sizes each day of the tournaments.

This year, prize money will again be awarded to the three teams with the most release points. Cash awards will also be given to crews that accumulate the most release points each of the three tournament fishing days. The team that releases the most makos will be rewarded as well.

The Ocean City Shark Tournament is the second of two fishing competitions that allow anglers to accumulate points toward the “Ocean City Sharker of the Year” title. The first event was Mako Mania, which took place June 7-9.

On Saturday, from 1-7 p.m., exhibitors, including the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland Coastal Bays, Salisbury Zoo, Tri-County Bird Club, Scales & Tales, Surfriders, Delmarva Discovery Center, WBOC and Dick Arnold, a volunteer with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Maryland Department of Natural Resources who will talk about horseshoe crabs and have a few to show guests, will be set up in a tent in the fishing center parking lot.

The Outdoors Delmarva expo is open to the public and free to attend.

“It’s an educational experience,” Sampson said about the event.

The expo was added to the tournament last year and was a hit.

“People can learn more about fishing, marine life, wildlife and outdoor activities,” Sampson said.

For more information, visit www.ocsharktournament.com, e-mail ocsharktournament@gmail.com or call 410-213-2442.

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