Poor Girls Open hits the water this week

This article was updated on Aug. 13, 2018 — ed. 

The Poor Girls Open is coming back to Ocean City for its 25th year, and you’re not going to want to miss it. 

What is the Poor Girls Open?

Simply put, the Poor Girls Open is a fishing tournament that’s open to women only. It usually happens the week after the White Marlin Open, but while the White Marlin tournament is the largest billfish tournament in the world, the Poor Girls Open isn’t overshadowed–it’s a unique and competitive tourney in its own right. This year the competition runs August 16-18

Fishing for a cause 

In 1994, the late Captain Steve Harman founded the tournament so the local resort staff–bartenders, servers and hotel employees–could afford to participate. Hence the name “Poor Girls Open.” But not only is the tournament inexpensive and female-friendly, it also raises money for breast cancer research, as Harman’s wife battled the disease. Today the competition is run by Steve’s brother, Sean Harman, and Nancy Dofflemyer, co-founder of the Pink Ribbon Classic at the Beach. While the billfishing tournament is as competitive as any other, many of the women who participate know someone who has battled breast cancer or are survivors themselves, and they fish to raise money and awareness for breast cancer. 

A look back four years ago: The Harman family and organizers of the 21st annual Capt. Steve Harman’s Poor Girls Open ladies-only tournament present a check for $65,000 to American Cancer Society representatives. Proceeds are earmarked for breast cancer research and program development under the “Pink Ribbon Classic” — a series of local events that benefit the organization.

How can I compete?

Fill out Bahia Marina’s entry form right here. Fish from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday after departing from Ocean City, Indian River, the Delaware Inlet or the Chincoteague Inlet. A boat with up to three anglers costs $450, with an added $50 a person for up to three additional anglers. 

The catch-and-release tournament awards points for billfish releases, and fish are weighed every afternoon at the Bahia Marina. With a total of 747 anglers participating, last year’s total payout reached $192,035. This year, it’s probable that the payout will reach the 200,000s. 

Over 100 boats participate, and that number only increases with each passing year. In the past three years, the Poor Girls Open has raised over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society through participating anglers, silent auctions, 50/50 tickets and t-shirt sales. 

Kristin is a writer and photographer in Ocean City, Maryland, and is the content manager for OceanCity.com and other State Ventures, LLC sites. She loves getting reader-submitted stories and photos, so send her an email anytime. She also works part-time at the Art League of Ocean City and the Ocean City Film Festival and lives just off the peninsula with her dog and fiancé. Her photos can be found on Instagram @oc_kristin.

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