The Ocean City Tuna Tournament takes place July 10th – 12th.
The Ocean City Tuna Tournament first kicked off 33 years ago as a local tournament. Now, Ocean City’s original tuna tournament welcomes boats from New Jersey, Florida, and Texas, along with other states from across the nation.
Tournament Basics and Prizes
As the only local tournament that does not involve billfish, the Ocean City Tuna Tournament is unique along the East Coast. Eligible fish are the yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, big eye tuna, dolphin, and wahoo.
Final registration, which costs $1,000, will be held at the Ocean City Fishing Center from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on July 9th.
Participants should keep in mind that boats are only permitted to fish 2 out of 3 days in the tournament. Jennifer Blunt, who serves as tournament director, also reminds participants to be familiar with the rules before hitting the water.
Weigh-ins, which are always the most exciting part of the tournament, are set for July 10th and 11th from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Ocean City Fishing Center and Sunset Marina. On July 12th, an additional weigh-in will take place from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the fishing center only. Fish must weigh at least 30 pounds.
While boaters surely enjoy the excitement of catching fish, they also love to earn prize money! The tuna tournament continues to give away hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Prizes have increased dramatically in value over the past three decades. In 1988, just over $9,000 was awarded, compared to $1 million in 2019.
This outdoor event is perfect for spectators, especially children. “Kids love the weigh-ins and seeing boats come in and out of the marina.”, said Blunt.
Even though boaters may have trouble catching fish on the water, they surely won’t go hungry! Micky Fins is located right at the fishing center and serves both lunch and dinner. Additionally, gorgeous sunsets can be seen right from the restaurant. Another draw to the restaurant is live entertainment, which includes Chris Diller at 6 p.m. on July 9th and Full Circle Duo at 8 p.m. on July 11th.
Free parking is offered during weigh-ins and shuttles will also be provided.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Ocean City Tuna Tournament will be a bit different. “We are limiting the number of spectators coming to the docks, posting social distancing signs all over the property, and we won’t be having big tents.”, said Blunt. As for whether masks are required outdoors, Blunt says it is a possibility, but organizers do not yet have a definitive answer. Staff will be wearing masks everywhere, and visitors will certainly need them indoors.
Despite these restrictions, there is one piece of good news. Blunt promises that more prizes will be given out, and organizers hope that this will satisfy visitors who are used to the packed and enthusiastic environment.
If you are not ready to venture out but still want to watch the weigh-ins, you can do so from the comfort of your home! Watch the live stream!
For more information, call the Ocean City Fishing Center at 410 – 213 – 1121 or click here.