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MSSA’s 26th Tuna-ment Tournament, June 19-21

(June 12, 2015) The Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association will present its 26th annual Tuna-ment Tournament next weekend.

Teams will fish two of three days – Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday, June 19-21.

“We are looking to get 100 boats this year,” said Dave Smith, executive director of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association.

Tuna is the main division for the tournament and all species are eligible, except false albacore. Teams boating first-, second- and third-heaviest tunas will be awarded prize money.

There are also optional added-entry skill level calcuttas for the chance to win additional prize money for reeling in the largest tuna. Calcuttas range from $50-$500.

A category for dolphin is available as well. The cost to enter is $100.

“Tuna fishing right now is great. It seems our tournament hits right at the beginning of the prime tuna fishing season. At least for the past three years anyway,” Smith said Monday.

Final registration and a local captains’ meeting will take place, 6-8 p.m. at Alltackle in West Ocean City on Thursday, June 18. The cost to enter the tournament is $250 for MSSA members, $300 for non-members.

Sunset Marina in West Ocean City is one of four official weigh-in stations. The others are Wachapreague Seaside Marina in Wachapreague, Va., Curtis Merritt Marina in Chincoteague, Va. and Hook’em and Cook’em at the Indian River Inlet in Delaware.

“Anglers that fish our tournament like the convenience of four weigh stations and the easy-going nature of MSSA tournaments,” Smith said. “We do follow our rules to the ‘T,’ but we do put a high priority on fun.”

This year, weigh-in time has been extended one hour. Weigh-ins will take place from 4:30-8 p.m. each tournament day.

“We extended the weigh station hours for several reasons. Economically speaking, it will allow boats to travel at a more economical speed and still make it in, while also allowing for the most fishing time possible [with] lines out at 3:30 p.m.,” Smith said. “Also, with less stress about getting back in time, that should translate into a more enjoyable experience.”

For more information, visit www.mssa.net or call 410-255-5535.

Fifty-six boats registered for the 2014 tournament. Forty-three of them were out of Ocean City.

Cash and prizes awarded to 2014 winners totaled $40,000.

The crew of the Top Dog reeled in two large big eye tuna, weighing in at 222.1 and 211.7 pounds. The 222.1-pound fish took first place in the 25th annual Maryland Saltwater Sportfishing Association’s Tuna-ment Tournament last year. The crew won $21,041.

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