The 2012 big game fishing season is off to a fast start along the mid-Atlantic region as the first days of summer have seen yellowfin tuna, wahoo and dolphin already being caught in respectable numbers along the canyons of the south Jersey coast. Numerous blue marlin and white marlin releases have already been logged by boats sailing from Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland. A considerable number of large big eye tuna, several well over 200 pounds, have also been decked.
If that doesn’t get diesel fuel pumping through your veins and visions of skipping ballyhoo dancing in your head perhaps the fact the late summer billfish bite in this region has been off the charts for the past four years will get your tournament juices flowing! Or, maybe a shot at a six-figure payout will get you in the mood! In either case, the week of August 19-24 finds the eyes of the offshore sportfishing world focused on the events set to take place at the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 where everybody who’s anybody in tournament billfishing will again gather for the 21st installment of sportfishing’s “Main Event.”
Boat for boat, the richest marlin and tuna tournament in the world is known for spreading the wealth among tournament winners and the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 features a cash purse of $500,000 based on a field of 125 boats. Cash prizes are awarded to the three heaviest white marlin, blue marlin and tuna and include $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 for each of the top three white marlin and blue marlin while the three heaviest tuna net $75,000, $35,000 and $20,000. Not to be overlooked is the cash prize for the single heaviest dolphin and wahoo, each worth $10,000. Calcutta proceeds add to the total cash purse and these tournament-sanctioned side bets are once again expected to push the pot to well over $1.5 million, which will significantly increase the payout opportunity to those winners who participate in these optional pools. Last year’s event saw no less than 16 cash winners including 10 receiving checks of five figures or more!
As always, Canyon Club Resort Marina will serve as the event’s host marina in Cape May and Sunset Marina will host participants who elect to sail from Ocean City, Maryland, the tournament’s only satellite port. Both marinas will again be providing full weigh in capabilities for all five tournament species. As always to keep the boundaries fair for all participants all boats from either port must fish within 125 miles of the Cape
May Sea Buoy. There is no limit to the number of anglers, lines or teasers. IGFA rules apply except a fish may be hooked by someone other than the angler provided the rod is immediately passed off to the angler who will then fight the fish until it is boated or released.
The tournament kicks off with Registration, Calcutta Entries and the Welcome Cocktail Party followed by a brief Captain’s Meeting at both host marinas on Sunday, August 19. From Monday, August 20 through Friday, August 24, participants will select three fishing days from the five available. A lavish awards banquet concludes the event on the evening of Friday, August 24. During tournament week no boats may clear their respective inlet sea buoy prior to 4:30 a.m. and lines in is set for 8:30 a.m. Fishing concludes each day at 3:30 p.m. and any fish to be weighed must be brought to the scale of the host marina at the port from which the vessel sailed by 9 p.m. Minimum weights to qualify include 65 pounds for white marlin and 400 pounds for blue marlin while a tuna must weigh at least 50 pounds. There is no minimum weight for dolphin or wahoo. Points are awarded for all billfish released under the tournament minimum weight and tuna weighed and awards bearing the tournament’s artwork by famed marine artist Guy Harvey is presented to the top three point winners of each billfish and the tuna categories.
The excitement is building and if you want to be part of an event known around the world for its great fishing, dockside hospitality and camaraderie, you should act now! Contact Tournament Director Bob Glover for tournament information and Mark Allen for sponsorship information at 609-884-2400 or visit the tournament’s official web site at www.ma500.com.
The 2012 Mid-Atlantic $500,000 is proudly sponsored by Premier Sponsors Ocean Yachts, Release Marine, South Jersey Yacht Sales and Sunset Marina and Premier Engine Sponsor Johnson & Towers/MTU. Additional sponsors include Alexseal Yacht Coatings; Baitmasters of South Florida; Big Game Fishing Journal; Boat Pix; Canyon Club Resort Marina; Canyon Gear Custom Lures; Christi Insurance Group; Costa Marine Canvas; Dunleavey Art; Engines Incorporated; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Fineline Studio; FLIR Systems, Inc.; Garmin; Gentilini Motors; Guy Harvey; Interlux; Liquid Flow; Lucky Bones Backwater Grille; Mack Boring and Parts/Yanmar; MAN Engines and Components; Midlantic Gold Rush; Oceanview Marine Welding; Offshore Electronics; Offshore Financial and Pelagic Offshore Gear. Other sponsors include Penn Reels/Pure Fishing; Pipe Dreams Marine; Pompanette; Premier Yacht Management; Ransome Engine/Caterpillar; Raymarine; Rick Bogert; Salt Life; Seakeeper, Inc.; South Jersey Marina; Sperry Top-Sider; Sturdy Bank; Tuckerman’s Aerial Photography; World Billfish Series; ZF Marine, LLC and Washington Inn.