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The final fishing day of the 32nd annual MidAtlantic tournament saw only 11 boats head offshore into a stiff southerly breeze and sporty sea conditions. By early afternoon the sun began to peek through high clouds, though the gusty wind made for a bumpy afternoon and a rough ride home. With nearly the entire 181-boat field having wrapped up their eligible days of fishing as of Thursday evening, little change in the standings was expected, so when the scales at the Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, New Jersey, and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, Maryland, closed officially at 9 p.m., the leaderboard remained unchanged. It was time to celebrate as more than $5.79 million was handed out to nearly three dozen different winners, with varying amounts based on their levels of participation in the optional jackpots.
In the white-marlin category, Clint Clement, fishing aboard his boat Common Sense, took home the trophy for the heaviest white marlin of the tournament with his 87-pounder, worth $201,388. However, the largest payout in the white-marlin category went to a 76-pounder taken aboard Howard Berger’s Boss Hogg from Edgewater, Maryland, a catch that netted them $1,406,938. Catch 23 of Jupiter, Florida, finished in third place and took home $462,318 for a 75-pound white marlin. All three of the winning whites were weighed on Day Four, and the payout for the second-place fish is a tournament record for the category.
The blue-marlin division saw the Pipe Dreamer team and angler Chip Caruso walk away with the heaviest blue-marlin award for his 889-pounder, which won them $1,180,342, the second million-plus-dollar payout. Shon Craig’s Amarula Sun, hailing from Tarpon Springs, Florida, held on to second place with his 548-pounder, which was good for $494,886. Jay Keller on Tighten Up took home third place with his 528-pounder. All three of the winning blue marlin were weighed on Day Three. Pipe Dreamer’s payout is a tournament record for a blue marlin.
There were a total of 750 white marlin caught in the 2023 event, representing the third-highest total in tournament history. As always, The MidAtlantic’s prize structure features excellent payouts spread across multiple winners rather than one large check for a single fish.