(May 30, 2014) It was a cold winter and anglers are ready for warm weather and the 2014 tournament fishing season to get under way.
“It’s been a long, hard, cold winter and people are anxious to go out fishing,” said Mako Mania co-organizer Earl Conley. The 18th annual Mako Mania Shark Tournament is just one week away.
Conley said he has received many calls from anglers interested in the June 6-8 fishing event, presented by Bahia Marina Tournaments. Some boat captains have reported that they have trips booked for the tournament, Conley said.
The first mako of the season, a 214-pounder, was caught on May 9 by Hayden Christoff aboard the Restless Lady. A number of makos have been boated since.
“There’s a lot of fish activity right now,” Conley said. “The bite should be on right around our tournament. It should be at its peak.”
Final registration for the tournament will be Thursday, June 5, beginning at 4 p.m. at Bahia Marina, on 22nd Street, bayside. A captains’ meeting will follow.
The entry fee is $500 per boat for up to four anglers. Two additional anglers — to make a six-person team — may be added to a boat at $50 each. There will be a one day (different team) entry fee of $300 for charter boats.
Anglers will fish two of three days, Friday through Sunday, June 6-8.
All fish must be weighed in at Bahia Marina. Scales will open at 3:30 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to watch the weigh-ins, which typically draw a large crowd. There is no cost to attend the weigh-ins.
This tournament has added entry categories for the heaviest thresher shark and bluefish. Prize money will be awarded for the three heaviest mako sharks and top two bluefish. Winner takes all for the heaviest thresher.
There will also be a $1,000 bonus mako (heaviest mako winner takes all) calcutta. Entering this category will increase the amount of prize money paid out to the angler who lands the largest mako.
The boat that releases the most sharks will receive the “W.W. Harman” $1,000 award in honor of the late William W. Harman, who launched shark tournaments in the resort more than 20 years ago.
The weather forecast factored into the 30-boat turnout for the 17th annual Mako Mania last year. A total of 128 anglers participated. Nine makos were boated during the three-day tournament. One bluefish was weighed and no threshers were landed. A total of $46,430 was awarded to the winners.
“Considering the weather, I think it went off very well,” Conley said after the 2013 tournament.
For more information about Mako Mania, call Bahia Marina at 410-289-7438.