With the theme of “competition, opportunity and camaraderie,” the 30th anniversary of the MidAtlantic concluded with a pair of truly memorable blue marlin, in addition to a tournament-record purse of more than $5.9 million, effortlessly surpassing last year’s record of $4 million. The event hosted a fleet of 203 boats in 2021—a second tournament record—and the fishing did not disappoint.
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While the 2020 MidAtlantic created a buzz in the fishing community when two 800-plus-pound blue marlin were weighed just minutes apart on the final day of the tournament, this year’s event saw the tournament record for that species broken—and then broken again the following day. Capt. Rocky Hardison and the Wolverine team, based in Beaufort, North Carolina, weighed a 958-pound blue marlin on Day Four, and although that would normally be a surefire win, the team had to settle for second place when Capt. Jon Duffie’s Billfisher team weighed a 1,135-pound blue marlin the following day, setting a new Maryland state record, eclipsing the previous state record of 1,062 pounds that was caught by Robert Farris in 2009. Billfisher’s blue marlin took the top prize in the category and netted the crew $1,167,762 in prize money. Hardison and company settled for second place on Wolverine. Almost anticlimactically, Larry Hesse and the Goin’ In Deep team weighed a 681-pound blue marlin to finish in third place, good for $412,237.
In the white marlin category, Anthony Martina’s Sea Wolf won the top prize of $1,017,127 for his 82-pounder weighed on Day Three. Art Boykin and the aptly named Lucky Duck II finished in second place with an 80-pound white weighed on Day One to win $162,604. Andrew Dotterweich aboard Fish On finished in third place with a 75-pounder and received $680,387. In the release division, the Viking 80 demo team won first place with 1,575 points.
The tuna division saw nearly two dozen bigeyes weighed during the tournament, as well as dozens of yellowfin, including one of 172 pounds caught by Nicole Scotti on Gina Addeo’s Gina Lisa, from Staten Island, New York. However, the bigeyes dominated the leaderboard. Chip Caruso’s Pipe Dreamer swept the top two places with bigeyes of 235 and 227 pounds weighed on Day Three to win a total of $1,000,065. Bob Hugin on The Right Place finished in third place with a 188-pounder and won $244,556.
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Always a tournament that spreads the wealth to multiple winners, this year’s MidAtlantic saw record payouts for the heaviest white marlin and blue marlin, as well as a combined record payout for the top two tuna, each receiving well over $1 million. In addition to the three $1 million-plus payouts, six other teams earned $100,000 or more, and five received checks of $50,000 or more. Additionally, a record for tuna points was set by Bob Hugin’s The Right Place. There were 475 white marlin released along with an additional 43 blue marlin in this year’s MidAtlantic.