Since the great storm of 1933, Ocean City, Md has grown into the “White Marlin Capital of the World.” The storm severed the reef connecting Ocean City and Assateague, creating the inlet and providing access to the ocean- and the many fish swimming through it- to a much larger percentage of fishermen. A year after the storm, Captain John Mickle pulled in Maryland’s first recorded white marlin (a home video of the storm exists and can be seen on the Maryland Historic Societies Vimeo page).
In the years following, white marlin fishing in Ocean City boomed, and now, the world’s best anglers converge on the resort town once a year to compete in what has become the largest (and most lucrative) billfish tournament in existence- the White Marlin Open.
The 42nd annual White Marlin Open will take place from August 3rd-7th, 2015. Hundreds of anglers from all over the globe will cast lines as they compete for the chance to catch record-breaking fish and gain a share of the millions of dollars in prize money. Last year, the prizes totaled over $2.77 million, and the 2015 prize pool is expected to be even bigger.
The participants and spectators are in for 5 days of fishing, weighing, and suspense. Each day starts as early as 4:00 am with the boats heading out to sea and ends as late as 3:30 pm, when every boat must stop fishing unless a fish is still on the line. The weigh-ins are held at Harbor Island on 14th street from 4:00-9:15 pm. Spectators can feel the suspense with every time the scale tips. Every ounce counts in determining who gets the fortune.
The weigh-ins are free, so don’t miss the excitement. Parking is available at The Presbyterian Church on 14th Street and at Holy Savior Church on 17th Street. A shuttle service is also available from the Convention Center lot. If you can’t make the weigh-ins, you can always check out the leaderboard or watch live feed on the Marlin Cam at whitemarlinopen.com.
If you’ve never experienced the White Marlin Open, here are some looks at what you’re missing: