The 2012 Mid-Atlantic $500,000 has arrived and the prospect of excellent weather combined with a white hot white marlin bite and a potential total cash purse of well over $1.5 million has the energy level at an escalated height! This year marks the 21st edition of this event which traditionally attracts big game fisherman from New England to Florida for what has long been heralded as sportfishing’s “Main Event” on the tournament calendar.
Participants have spent the days leading up to the tournament pre-fishing the canyons off the south Jersey coast fine tuning their skills and perfecting their bait spreads in preparation of the tournament. It’s now “Go Time” and starting tomorrow boats will select three of the next five days to canvas these same canyons in pursuit of white marlin, blue marlin, tuna, dolphin (mahi mahi) and wahoo.
While the tournament’s home port is Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, several years back Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland was enlisted to be the event’s only official satellite port, a move which proved popular as dozens of boats now sail from Ocean City during the tournament each year. However, to maintain a level playing field for all participants all boats must fish within 125 miles of the Cape May Sea Buoy and they may not pass their respective sea buoy prior to 4:30 a.m. each day. Fishing begins at 8:30 a.m. and “Lines Out” is 3:30 p.m. Any fish to be weighed must be at the scales of Canyon Club or Sunset Marina by 9 p.m. each day. Please note the weigh-in sessions of the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 are not open to the general public. However, you can follow the action live by visiting www.ma500.com and clicking on the Live Weigh-In Cam beginning at 5 p.m. each night. You can also follow the tournament on Twitter at @midatl and on Facebook.
A payout of tournament proceeds of $500,000 is assured with a field of 125 boats. The three heaviest white marlin and blue marlin are each worth $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 respectively while the three heaviest tuna are worth $75,000, $35,000 and $20,000. The heaviest wahoo and dolphin each win $10,000. Optional calcutta entries, which are sanctioned by the tournament, will add significantly to the total purse and individual payouts to those winners who participate in them.
Minimum weight for a white marlin to qualify is 65 pounds and a blue marlin must weigh at least 400 pounds. Any tuna, including big eye, yellowfin or longfin, must weigh at least 50 pounds. Points are awarded for billfish releases and tournament artwork by marine artist Guy Harvey is awarded to the top three point winners.
We will once again provide nightly updates shortly after the scales close at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday via e-mail. A complete tournament wrap-up will be sent out via e-mail by 11 a.m. Saturday. For further information on the tournament contact South Jersey Marina at 609-884-2400 or visit the tournament’s official web site at www.MA500.com where you’ll find the latest information including rules, photos, standings and a link to purchase official tournament apparel.
–– Source: South Jersey Tournaments