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Fourth annual Mem. Day Bluefish Tourney this wknd.

(May 24, 2013) Before the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 2010 Memorial Day Bluefish Tournament, years had passed since a local fishing competition’s emphasized that species.

There had been a bluefish tournament in Ocean City until around the mid-1980s, said Frank Pettolina, president of the Ocean City Marlin Club.

Pettolina wanted to bring back a bluefish event. Since there was interest from anglers, the Marlin Club sponsored its inaugural tournament during the 2010 Memorial Day weekend.

A total of 27 boats traveled offshore, and one angler fished from the shore. Anglers landing the heaviest fish won nearly $8,000 in prize money and $3,000 was donated to the Catherine & Charles Kratz Memorial Foundation and Scholarship Fund, which provides support for veterans.

Last year, tournament participation dropped because tuna were biting and many anglers went out in search of that species rather than bluefish. Fifteen boats registered for the competition and $6,210 in prize money was awarded. Around $2,000 was donated through the tournament entry fee, raffles and donations to the Kratz program.

Only three anglers returned to the Sunset Marina scale with bluefish.

Hookin’ Wubbas angler Dale Bleacher reeled in a 10.6-pound fish, earning him first place for his catch worth $585.

Thirteen-year-old junior angler Charlie Hash caught a 7.8-pound bluefish aboard the Mojo. Because of participation in the added entry-level calcuttas, his team took home $4,365.50.

Ten-year-old Jacob Cockman hooked a 7.4-pounder, earning him third place for his fish worth $1,260.50.

Registration for the 2013 competition begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Marlin Club on Golf Course Road in West Ocean City. Anglers do not have to be Marlin Club members to participate.

Participants will fish one of two days, May 25 or 26.

Anglers have the option to fish inshore or offshore. Boat entry fee is $200 while fishing from the shore costs $50.

A portion of the entry fee will again be donated to the Catherine & Charles Kratz Memorial Foundation and Scholarship Fund.

Pettolina said bluefish fishing was good inshore and offshore last weekend. Anglers caught a number of bluefish around the Ham Bone, about 29 miles offshore. They also hooked some near the Route 50 bridge and in the bay.

“I hope to have good fishing, good weather and a good turnout,” Pettolina said.

Weigh-ins will take place at Sunset Marina on Saturday and Sunday from 3:30-6 p.m.

Prize money will be awarded to anglers who hook the three heaviest bluefish, with added entry levels that increase winnings.

An awards banquet will take place Sunday from 6:30-9 p.m. at the club.

For more information, call 410-213-1613. To learn more about the Catherine & Charles Kratz Memorial Foundation and Scholarship Fund, visit www.kratzmemorialfoundation.com.

Angler Dale Bleacher, left, reeled in a 10.6 pound bluefish, during the first day of the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 2012 Memorial Day Bluefish Tournament. The fish, which took first-place honors, was weighed at Sunset Marina, and worth $585.

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