The Mid-Atlantic $500,000 Marlin Tournament is billed as the Main Event in the 2011 tournament season. First day fishing activity was sparse here at the Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. A snotty forecast kept the majority of the field at the dock for a lay day on Monday. Only 13 boats made the run to the edge where they racked up a total of 12 white and two blue marlin releases.
Boats with billfish releases on Day One include Ernest Audet’s Lisa K with four white marlin and one blue marlin released and Gaspar Marino, Jr.’s Wadamacallit with three white marlin released. John McNamara’s Rodeo and Bill Wrede’s Lovin’ Life each released two whites and Dean Shacklett’s Flying Label released a white marlin and a blue marlin. The only fish brought to the scales was a 47 lb wahoo by John Stavola’s Milling Around with Capt. Ken Gallop at the helm. The daily white marlin Calcutta, which stands at $39,140 goes unclaimed and will be added to the next four dailies raising them to about $50,000 per day.
Cape May, New Jersey’s Canyon Club and South Jersey Marina have been hosting the $500,000 since its inception, but a few years back added Ocean City as a port and weigh station. This year OC has come close to matching the Cape May turn out fielding 50 of the 117 boats in the tournament. According to Rick Weber of South Jersey Marina, who is on hand here, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Sunset become a major player in this tournament, it is a win, win for everyone especially the anglers.” Sunset Marina General Manager Brian Tinkler was all smiles when we discussed the turnout and commented that the $500,000 has become a major event on the Ocean City tournament scene and continues to grow.
The field of 117 boats will be competing for a share of the total purse of $1,539,130, a handsome ransom by any standard. Tomorrow I’ll be riding along to take pictures on the Makaira, spending the day on the bridge with an old acquaintance, Capt. Bill Gerlock. Will be back with developments from on the scene again tomorrow. The report weather for the next couple days predicts calm, the fish are out there and the field includes some of the very best marlin fishermen and crews in the world. Tuesday and Wednesday promise to be a real free-for-all at the scales and Marlin will have all the details and juicy stories as they happen.