(June 6, 2014) Ocean City Shark Tournament organizers incorporated several changes this year to simplify the competition and make it more affordable for participants.
One major adjustment was the tournament dates. In the early years, the fishing competition was held in mid-July. It was then moved to the last week in June, and in the mid-90s the tournament was held in mid-June, Father’s Day weekend, and it had remained that time period until this year.
The 2014 tournament took place last weekend, May 29-31.
“I think it was a move in the right direction,” said Mark Sampson, co-director of the tournament.
Comments from participants about the date change and the streamlined tournament format were positive, Sampson said.
Eighteen boats registered for the 34th annual Ocean City Shark Tournament. Teams could fish two of three tournament days. Because of poor conditions, no boats went out last Thursday so all 18 were eligible to fish Friday and Saturday.
Sean Hogan of Morganville, N.J. was the first to weigh a fish at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City, last Friday. He landed a 314-pound mako aboard Sweetie to take top honors in the division. The fish was worth $10,170.
Nate Leader of Sudlerville, Md. finished in second place in the mako division with a 193 pounder he reeled in aboard Keep ‘Er Wet. He received $6,660.
First place in the open division when to Blake McGrath of Ocean City for the 346-pound thresher he caught on the Reel Instigator. Teammate Bob Sawyer of Port Deposit, Md. hooked a 148-pound blue shark. The crew was awarded $5,850.
Mike Kreiser’s 203-pound thresher he reeled in on Teaser, earned the Jonestown, Pa. resident $3,240.
Ricky DeWitt of Masontown, WVa. landed a 132-pound blue shark aboard the Restless Lady and won $972.
Parsonsburg, Md. resident, Mike Ennis, was presented a check for $648 for his 131-pound blue shark caught aboard Intimidator.
Maryland resident, Curt Howell hooked a 98-pound blue shark aboard Still Searchin’ and took home $1,440.
There were no entries in the bluefish division.
The Nontypical crew released four makos, nine sandbar sharks and 13 blues to finished first in the division. The team was awarded $8,226.
Anglers aboard Absolute Pleasure let three makos and nine blue sharks go to take second place in the release division. The crew won $5,364.
Thirteen-year-old Evan Carmen landed a 142-pound blue shark on All Hooked Up. The fish put him in first place in the youth division. He pocketed $500 for the catch.
Ten-year-old Jimmy Tippett released one mako and four blues aboard Absolute Pleasure. He received $250.
Eleven-year-old Noah Morris released one blue shark while fishing on Intimidator. He was presented with a rod and reel.
Fifteen sharks–six makos, seven blues and two threshers–were brought to the scale.
One hundred and eight sharks were released–13 makos, 85 blues and nine sandbar.
“Moving the tournament up (from mid-June to the end of May), we only saw four types of sharks. In mid-June you see more variety of sharks because the water is warmer,” Sampson said. “Blue sharks dominated the catches.”
The total payout for the 2014 tournament was $43,320.
“Everything went very smoothly. It went well for those who participated,” Sampson said. “With 18 boats, we had a good number of fish coming in. I was kind of surprised by that. Everybody seemed to catch fish. To coin the phrase, ‘a good time was had by all.’”