This year’s celebratory year was exactly that! A celebration of the tournament that started out as a small idea for Jim Moktsko to 50 years of out of this world deep sea bill fishing! The tournament that began with just 57 boats in 1974 to 400 boats 50 years later, people continue to flock to the White Marlin Capital of the World.
Is It True? They’ve Got a Blue?
Throughout the entire day, the rumor mill was spinning with news about Roshambo that hooked a blue marlin early in the morning and had been fighting the fish for over 7 hours! At 4pm the rumors continued with new of another boat that landed a blue marlin, a white marlin, a 75” tuna, and a big mahi! Big things were coming!
That First First Feeling on the Last Day
As the first boat approached the scales the crowds went wild! Reel Tight came in reporting a beautiful day on the water and 2 tuna on board. And skyrocketing to 1st place, Brian Stewart landed a 265 pound tuna bumping down the previous 247.5 pounder. The Skirt Chaser was waiting in the canal to weigh their white marlin! It was the first white marlin that has come to the scales in the 2023 WMO! It met the minimum length requirement but ended up just 3 pounds shy at 67 pounds. Despite the loss, the crew and anglers reported having the best time fishing out there today.
Pain Felt By All
Word came in at 5pm that Roshambo broke off their blue marlin after a 7 hour fight! The entire crowd felt the pain. No Limits came in with 112” marlin that didn’t make the length requirement. 2 big eyes came to the scales around 5:30 but didn’t make weight to top the leaderboard.
They’ve Got the Blues- Finally!
At quarter to 5 the Floor Reel came in with the first qualifying blue marlin! Everyone held their breath while the massive fish was hoisted onto the scale. And at 640.5 pounds the first blue marlin made it to the leaderboard. After that, many boats came in weighing sizable tuna however climbing to the leaderboard was not an option. With many of the tuna weighing under 200, it was difficult to match the leading tuna which were at that point in the mid 200’s.
A lot of different species of fish began to come through on the scales after 6:30. Boys Toy came in with a wahoo with Captain Tommy Gessler, who won the White Marlin Open back in 1993 when he was just 15 years old. His family fished the tournament together, continuing the tradition of bringing fish to the scales. Hall Pass came in with a second place mahi at 28.5 pounds.
A 50.5 pound mahi came in around 7pm and took over 1st place! The large fish came off of Roncito. The Shore Billy came in just after with a mahi weighing in at 23.5 pounds but was unable to crack the top 3.
At 8pm a mahi came to the scales weighing in at 32 pounds taking 2nd place. The Aquila donated the fish to the Maryland Food Bank.
By the end of the evening, fans were excited that a blue marlin finally came to the scales in addition to the massive dolphin.
Final Standings for 2023
Here are the final standings for the 50th Annual White Marlin Open 2023:
There were no white marlin brought to the scales that made the size requirements.
640.5 pounds- Floor Reel, $6.2 million
265 pounds Reel Tight- $1 million
247.5 pounds- Fishlik $360,000
221.5 pounds- Game Over $160,000
215 pounds Ro Sham Bo- $1.7 million
57 pounds- Shooting Star $2,000
55 pounds- Captain Deadly $28,000
46 pounds- Boy’s Toy $26,000
50.5 pounds- Roncito $25,000
32 pounds- Aquila $78,000
31 pounds- Maverick $27,000
We’ll See You Next Year!
We’d like to thank Jim Motsko and family for the incredible week of fishing fun. We look forward to the next 50 years of the White Marlin Open! Special thanks also goes to Catch n Carry for helping to filet the fish at the scales and the Maryland Food Bank for the incredible involvement over the years.