The most talked about event in Ocean City, Maryland is finally here. The world’s largest billfish tournament is Monday, August 3rd to Friday August 7th. This year marks the 36th Annual White Marlin Open and with over $2.5 million in prize money to be won, it is the talk you the town. Nearly $1 million is awarded to the boat that catches the largest white marlin and there is prize money for the biggest blue marlin, tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and shark as well.
Last year, in the 2008 White Marlin Open, there was over $2 million in prize money distributed and many records set. Three hundred boats from the east coast and over 1,500 of the best anglers from around the country participated in last year’s event. The second largest blue marlin in tournament history was caught, along with a dolphin that missed the stated record by only half a pound. Also, for the second year in a row, three white marlin weighed in at over 80 pounds.
This year, registration is held Saturday August 1st and Sunday August 2nd at Harbour Island Marina from 12-5pm. Monday through Friday are fishing days, which begin at 8:30am and end at 3:30pm. Saturday August 8th is the awards ceremony and buffet from 4-7pm at the Clarion Resort Fountainbleau.
As fun as the White Marlin Open is for the anglers, it is just as fun for spectators. Harbour Island, which is located 14th Street and the Bay, is where all fish are weighed at the official scale. Weigh-ins are held each day of the tournament between 4pm and 9:15pm. This event is free to the public and definitely exciting to watch. On site of the event, there is food, drink, jewelry, and souvenirs available for spectators. Not to mention, big fish constantly come in to the scales and are always providing the opportunity for more money to be made.
There is no doubt that the marlin will be plentiful this season, which will make the tournament just as good, if not better than years past. The fish have headed north since being spotted in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Last week three white marlin were caught and released in Baltimore Canyon. Approximately 95 percent of recreational anglers in the United States release their marlin once caught. The fishermen have made an effort to help protect these fish, which has allowed them to be caught repeatedly. Ocean City, MD is doing their part in keeping the beloved white marlin off the endangered species list and therefore, preserving the recreational fishery for white marlin. In the mean time, the White Marlin Open will continue to occur and flourish.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE FISH, CHECK OUT DNR’S FISH FACTS
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE TOURNAMENT, CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL SITE
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE STATUS OF THE WHITE MARLIN FISHERY, CHECK OUT SCIENCE DAILY