The crowd grew quickly in both size and excitement — 262 boats fished the first day of the White Marlin Open (WMO) and a blue marlin was coming to the scales at 4:45 p.m. Soon several hundred people squeezed around the weigh-in station at Harbor Isle Marina to catch a glimpse of the big billfish. In short order, the vessel Reel Direct came along the face dock with a single blue marlin flag flying right-side up. You could hear a pin drop as WMO officials stretched a tape measure across the fish’s length. Then came the announcement: 103 1/2 inches, just one-and-a-half-inches short of meeting the tournament minimum length to weigh the fish. But it was a solid catch and a great kickoff to the 40th White Marlin Open.
The bigeye tuna soon followed. And when the smoke cleared, after a couple of 180-pound-class fish came in and left, Tarheel took the tuna category lead with a 226-pound eyeball, which is currently worth around $360,000. Goin In Deep is holding onto second with a 200-pounder valued at $65,000. Third place in the tuna category is currently held by Team Player with a 50-pounder worth $19,000.
A 29.5-pound dolphin is leading that division and could land the Incorrigible team $19,000 if it holds. Trash Man’s 25-pounder is at second and valued at $3,000 while Triple Bypass’ 20-pound dolphin is at $2,000.
Two white marlin that qualified for the tournament as far as length did not meet the minimum weights.
But there’s four more days of fishing left and today is another day. The weather looks great and there’s a million-dollar marlin out there… waiting.
View our White Marlin Open photo gallery and stay tuned to MarlinMag.com for more daily updates and photos.