Ocean City, Maryland is known as the ‘White Marlin Capital of the World” because of the world-class fishing that takes place off its shores. Each August, anglers from all over the globe embark on Ocean City for their chance to hook record breaking white and blue marlin, tuna, mako, and shark, and net their share of millions in prize money. This year marks an important milestone as the White Marlin Open celebrates its 40th Anniversary, and if the last few years are any indication, 2013 will be one for the record books.
The multi-million dollar White Marlin Open began in 1973 as a modest tournament with 57 boats, but has evolved over the years into the largest and most lucrative billfish tournament in the entire world. After a slight decline because of the poor economy, the White Marlin Open has rebounded strongly over the past few years, with each yielding higher turnouts, and payouts, than the previous. Last year 253 boats participated and over $2.3 million in prize money was awarded.
The tournament’s return to prominence is due, in large part, to tremendous fishing over the last three years. In 2012 alone, over 1000 billfish were caught and released over the 5 day span. Among those reeled in were a Maryland state record shark and a white marlin that took home top honors, and $1.4 million in prize money. Over 300 boats are expected to hit the high seas in 2013 as over $2 million is on the line, setting the stage for a dramatic 40th Anniversary edition of the tournament.
You don’t have to be an angler or even bait a hook to enjoy the White Marlin Open, however. Each night during the tournament, thousands flock to Harbour Island on 14th St and the Bay to watch the boat returns and weigh-ins from 4-9pm. Food and drink vendors, live music, and scale-tipping, mind-blowing fish combine to transform the marina docks into an exhilarating party that is unlike any other event in Ocean City. The town will be running a shuttle between the Convention Center and Harbour Island nightly for anyone wishing to view the weigh-ins without fighting for a parking spot.
The 2013 White Marlin Open takes place from August 5-9 and boats can register as late as August 4. The Captain’s meeting will be held August 4 at 7pm at Harbour Island Marina and fishing commences at 8:30am on August 5. Entry is $1200 per boat and anglers pick 3 of the 5 days to fish. The awards ceremony and after party will be held at the Clarion Resort Hotel on 101st St on August 10 at 4pm. Full details of the event can be found at www.oceancity.com/events/White-Marlin-Open-2013-August-5-2013.html