By any measure, the 2017 White Marlin Open is among the largest and most prestigious offshore sport-fishing tournaments in the world, with 353 participating teams and $4.97 million in prize money up for grabs during the week of August 7-11, 2017.
The final day of the 2017 White Marlin Open ended with a crowd-pleasing roar and a record finish. Glen Frost on Wire Nut landed the third-largest white marlin in the tournament's 44-year history, a 95.5-pounder, to take the lead on the last day of fishing. Barring any last-minute issues, Frost's white will win the team an incredible payout: $1,654,800 in cash.
Mike Donahue's 86-pound white marlin from Griffin led for several days but was ultimately bumped to second place. Thanks to their participation in the additional jackpot levels, his fish is worth $1,525,960. Joe Andrews on M.R. Ducks had the third place white at 79.5 pounds, winning $164,673.
In the release division, BAR South remained atop the leaderboard to win with 735 points from their eight white marlin and one blue marlin releases. Fender Bender was second with 700 points and 10 white marlin releases, while Weldor's Ark was third, 665 points from seven whites and a blue marlin, all released. There were no qualifying blue marlin landed during this year's tournament.
The game fish standings were also impressive. The event's top tuna went to Joe Sadler on Intents with his 68.5-pound yellowfin. Thanks to their jackpot participation, the team earns a whopping $866,553 for their efforts. James Boynton on Blue Runner was second with a 67-pounder, worth $90,380.
In the dolphin division, which remained open until the final day of fishing, Andrew Cohen from Silly Money made a splash with his 23-pounder, worth just under $75,000, a tournament-record payout for the category.
Gary Capuano's Day One wahoo on Hog Wild led throughout the tournament to win $27,841 in prize money.
Tournament director Jim Motsko related that he was pleased with this year's event. Despite the bad weather early in the week, the teams were able to fish in good conditions as the event progressed, and overall the fishing was very good.
The fourth day of the 2017 White Marlin Open saw no major changes in the leaderboard: Griffin and Business still lead in the white marlin division. Berzerker weighed a third-place white marlin though, a 72.5-pounder caught by Chris Cusick that could be worth $40,000 if it holds on to win. G-Force weighed a second-place wahoo at 53.5 pounds that may win the team $26,000 if a larger one isn't caught today.
In the release division, The Chaser took the lead with two blue marlin and four white marlin releases and 630 points. Fender Bender is second with nine white marlin and 630 points, while Weldor's Ark is third with one blue and four whites, for 595 points.
The fifth and final day of the tournament is today.
With the weather improving and most of the fleet fishing, the White Marlin Open leaderboard underwent significant changes on the third day of the tournament. Business angler Michael Logan scaled a white marlin weighing 76 pounds that led the tournament for a short time, until Griffin pulled into the weigh-in dock. They offloaded an 86-pound white marlin caught by Mike Donahue. If it holds on to win, the fish would be worth $2.6 million.
Intents angler Joe Sadler took over first place in the highly competitive tuna division with a 68.5-pound yellowfin, potentially worth $460,000 in prize money.
In the release standings, BAR South leads with 525 points from five white marlin and one blue marlin. Singularis moved into second with three whites and two blues released, and Lights Out is third with seven white marlin released.
Two days remain in this year's White Marlin Open.
With bad weather in the forecast, the majority of boats elected to take Day Two of the 2017 White Marlin Open as a lay day (boats can fish three of the five scheduled days of the tournament). However, the team on Blue Runner made the most of their day offshore, landing the new first- and third-place tunas. The team’s 67- and 60-pound yellowfins could be worth some significant prize money if they hold up to win.
In the release standings, Lights Out had three more white marlin releases to move into the lead with 490 points. However, they have now fished for two of their three eligible days. BAR South is now second with 315 points; they did not fish yesterday.
The majority of the 353-boat fleet will fish the remaining three days of the tournament so the scoring will pick up as the week winds down.
Amid bumpy seas offshore and terrible weather in the afternoon back ashore (including a short-lived tornado warning), 136 of the 353 boats elected to fish on the first day of the White Marlin Open. Just one white marlin was brought to the scales but it did not meet the tournament’s required minimum weight of 70 pounds.
In the tuna division, Milling Around took the early lead with a 64-pound yellowfin; Slab Head was second with a 57-pounder. Hog Wild weighed a 55-pound wahoo.
In the release standings, BAR South had a good day with one blue marlin and two white marlin released, good for 315 points. Light Out had four white marlin releases for 280 points.
Due to the weather, most of the fleet is expected to take a lay day today, 7/8, and resume fishing in earnest later this week. White marlin must meet a qualifying length of 67 inches and weigh over 70 pounds, while blue marlin must be over 114 inches in length to qualify.