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White marlin weighing 83 lbs, takes top honors

(Aug. 16, 2013) Several qualifying marlin where brought to the Harbour Island Marina scale, and after five days of fishing, an 83-pound white held the top spot in the coveted division during the 40th annual White Marlin Open and was worth more than $1.2 million.

A total of 262 boats were entered in the tournament, held Aug. 5-9, which saw a payout of $2,475,034.

“We had a very good tournament and the weather overall was good,” said co-director and founder, Jim Motsko. “We’re fortunate we got more boats this year, which I’m very happy about.”

In 2012, 253 boats registered and approximately $2.3 million was awarded to the winners.


Just before 8p.m. last Wednesday, the OdinSpear arrived at the 14th Street scale with Tommy Jones’ white marlin on board. As the numbers on the scale rose, the cheers from the crowd grew louder. The scale stopped at 83 pounds and the fish took over first place.

“I knew it was a good fish and I was very excited about the opportunity to get it to the boat…when we finally landed him, I was very, very excited because I knew we had a good fish,” Jones said.

Based on the crew’s estimations, they thought the marlin would be in the high 70-pound range. Needless to say, they were beyond thrilled it weighed in at 83 pounds.

“The fish was pretty big in it’s girth…fortunately we had a fat fish so it worked out great in our favor,” Jones said. He fought the marlin for about 40 minutes.

“The fish fought hard and I knew it was a big fish,” he said. “He took a couple runs, but fortunately we were finally able to get him on the boat.”

Jones and his Kingfisher teammates fished on the OdinSpear during the tournament because the Kingfisher had some mechanical difficulties. Jones has been competing in the White Marlin Open for more than 20 years. He won third place in 2010 for an 80.5-pound white marlin.

“It doesn’t get better than this,” he said Wednesday after landing the marlin that was worth $1,201,742.93.

“I’ve been waiting for this all my life,” he said.

Before Jones’ marlin was weighed, three 77-pound whites were tied for first place.

Jeremy Duffie landed the first 77-pound marlin last Tuesday aboard Billfisher. The other two were boated Wednesday by Debbie McCann (Sea Mistress) and Larry McKinley (Sea Toy).

According to tiebreaker rules, anglers who do not use a gaff (a pole with a sharp hook on the end that is used to stab a large fish and then lift it into the boat) is declared the winner. A gaff was not used to get McCann’s and McKinley’s marlin onto their respective boats. It was used to on Duffie’s fish.

Motsko said the rule was implemented years ago when there was a rumor that anglers were gaffing fish, bringing them on board and if they were too small they were throwing the marlin back into the water.

Last Thursday, Richard Kornahrens landed a 77-pound white aboard Lights Out. The fish was not gaffed.

McCann’s, McKinley’s and Kornahrens’ fish ended in a three-way tie for second place. It is the first time that has happened during the Open, Motsko said. The teams each received $102,498.13.

Marlin conservation is emphasized every year. During the 2013 competition, 376 white marlin were released, while 18 were boated (95.43 percent).


No blue marlin met the tournament minimum of 500 pounds. One blue was boated and 42 were released (97.67 percent), according to www.whitemarlinopen.com. The prize money in the A, B, C, D (three heaviest white and blue marlin) added entry level calcutta went into the white marlin division. The Level F “Winner take all” pot for heaviest blue marlin–$212,910– went to the angler who landed the first place tuna.


The tuna division was action packed all week.

“The bigeye showed up and kept things interesting,” Motsko said. “I’m glad the bigeye tuna showed up. That gave a whole new element to the tournament we never had before.”

James Czaban took over first place on Friday, the final fishing day, with a 276-pound bigeye. He and his Sushi teammates won $573,850.83–a tournament record. Miss Annie angler Mark Donohue finished in second place with a 261.5-pound bigeye he caught Thursday. The payout for the fish was $65,120.83.

Michael AJamian reeled in a 255.5-pound bigeye aboard Goin In Deep on Thursday, good for third place. It brought in $27,108.33. The Ocean Dan-Sar’s John Coleman won $46,060 for his 148.5-pound tuna for participation in the small boat (36 feet and smaller) calcutta.


Why Knot angler Jeff Collins was in first place Friday night with a 34 pounder he caught Wednesday, worth $14,726.33. Bill Gerlach’s 33 pounder he landed Wednesday on Billfisher finished in second place and earned the team $3,433.33.

Glenn Orr hooked a 30.5-pound dolphin aboard G Force on Thursday to take over third place. The prize money awarded for the fish was $12,726.33 (daily meatfish calcutta). Greg Fellers’ 29.5-pound dolphin he boated Monday on Incorrigible placed fourth. The crew pocketed $10,293 (daily meatfish calcutta).

Bryan Graul’s 25-pound dolphin he hooked on Tuesday on Krazy Salts generated $10,293 (daily meatfish calcutta) for the crew. Howard Berger’s (G Force) 25-pound dolphin earned the team $10,293 (daily meatfish calcutta).


John Simmonds reeled in a 70-pound wahoo on Streaker Thursday, good for first place and $21,588.33. Deacon Burke reeled in a 66-pound wahoo on OdinSpear Friday, to take over second place. The crew took home $20,588.33.

Aquadance angler Brian Schlosser’s 57.5 pounder caught Thursday finished in third place. The team was presented $2,433.33. James Shenk reeled in a 41-pound wahoo while fishing on Heavy Metal on Tuesday. The fish was worth $17,155 (daily meatfish calcutta).


The only shark landed before Thursday weighed 133.5 pounds. Mike Peet caught the mako aboard No Quarter on Monday. The team pocketed $4,933.33 for the first-place fish. Joseph West landed a 131-pound mako on Thursday aboard Cotton Picker and he and his team were awarded $3,933.33.

Top boats (releases): 

Sea Toy: 7 whites and 2 sailfish releases. One boated 77-pound white. Reelin N Dealin: 9 white releases. Singularis: 9 white releases. Viking 70: 9 white releases. Reel Desire: 4 whites and two blues released.

Top anglers: 

Jeff Citron (Singularis): 560 points, 8 white releases; Lawrence Julio (Rhonda’s Osprey): 455 points, 4 whites, 1 blue released; Dan Pettit (Trust Me Too): 455 points, 4 whites, 1 blue released; Carmine J. Caruso (Pipe Dreamer): 455 points, 4 white, 1 blue released.

The crew aboard the Goin In Deep caught three bigeye tuna weighing 217, 233 and 255.5 pounds last Thursday during Day 4 of the 40th annual White Marlin Open. The 255.5-pound finished in third place in the tuna division and earned the team $27,108.33.

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