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Lady anglers stars of show this weekend during Poor Girls Open

(Aug. 16, 2013) Thursday was the first fishing day of the 20th annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open and female anglers will have two more days, today and Saturday, to compete for cash prizes.

As of Thursday morning, 96 boats have entered this year’s competition, although there is still time to register.

Teams can sign up until through Saturday, but are not eligible for the added entry level calcuttas.

Entry fee costs $450 per boat for up to three anglers. Additional anglers may be added at $50 each, with a maximum of six total per boat. Teams will fish one of the three tournament days. Weigh-ins will take place from 4-7:30 p.m. at Bahia Marina, 22nd Street, bayside.

Pink Ribbon merchandise will be for sale and auction items will be set up near the weigh-in scale in the Bahia Marina/Fish Tales parking lot for anyone who wants to bid. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. Donations will be accepted for the American Cancer Society, as well.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams with the most billfish release points. There are also cash prizes for the three heaviest tuna and dolphin. Girls 16 and younger can participate in the junior angler division.

“The tuna bite is really good right now. There were some beautiful dolphin and some bigeye caught during the White Marlin Open (Aug. 5-9), “ co-director Earl Conley said Monday. “I’ve talked to a few captains and this time of year [marlin fishing] should be red hot. It’s a matter of any day the bite could turn.”

An awards luncheon is scheduled for Sunday, from noon to 2 p.m., at the Marlin Club in West Ocean City.

Many women participate in the event annually, including cancer survivors. Although it is a competition, there is camaraderie among the lady anglers.

“A day of fishing can bring so many people together for a common cause,” Conley said. “A lot of people are excited about the tournament. Because it’s for charity, people will fish it regardless.”

Capt. Steve Harman and his wife, Pam, started the Poor Girls Open in 1994 to provide women with an opportunity to compete for prizes and money in a ladies-only tournament and to raise money for local charities. Harman died in February 2004, so organizers thought it was appropriate the tournament be renamed in his memory.

Women enjoy fishing in the tournament because it benefits a worthy cause — breast cancer research. Proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society and earmarked for breast cancer research and program development, under the “Pink Ribbon Classic” — a series of local events that benefit the organization.

While some of the money is used for research on a national level, the remainder stays in the area to assist in local breast cancer awareness and patient programs and services.

The competition has grown since its inception — eight boats participated in the first tournament and in 2012, 108 vessels carried 499 female anglers offshore. A total of $95,980 was paid out to the 2012 winners.

“That’s a lot of anglers. I’d love to set records this year and have more people,” Conley said.

In 2012, the Harman family presented the American Cancer Society with a check for $62,500 during the tournament’s awards ceremony.

Approximately $9,000 of the contribution came from money raised during Fish Tales’ summer-long cornhole competition, as well as its third annual “Clamming for a Cure” contest in July. The total donated by the Harman family through the tournament and other events over the past five years is about $312,000.

“We have a ton of sponsorship this year,” Conley said. “I want to thank all the sponsors and the Harman family and all the lady anglers.”

For more information about the event, call Bahia Marina at 410-289-7438.

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