For the second year in a row, the last white marlin weighed during the White Marlin Open in Ocean City, Maryland, has netted a winning team a world-record purse. In 2021, Sushi had the last white marlin on the board and pocketed a cool $3.2 million. That record lasted for approximately 10 months, until Mercenaria landed a 572.6-pound blue marlin during North Carolina’s Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament, earning $3,489,813.
In the days leading up to this year’s White Marlin Open, the fishing had taken a definite turn for the worse; the actual fishing days produced just 155 whites for the fleet of 400-plus boats. On the fourth day, Cabana weighed a 511-pound blue, the first and only qualifier in that division, to win just over $1.2 million.
All eyes were on the white marlin standings though—with several million dollars at stake, anything could happen as the final days wound down. Finally, the team on C- Student caught a qualifying white at 71.5 pounds. However, the last boat to the scales in the 2022 tournament would be none other than Capt. Jon Duffie’s family-based team fishing on Billfisher.
An Ocean City native, Duffie has been among the best on the water, whether setting the Maryland record for blue marlin during last year’s MidAtlantic tournament with a fish weighing 1,135 pounds, placing third in the 2021 White Marlin Open, or winning tournaments in Costa Rica. Now also fishing on his own custom-built boat, this is one captain and team that’s not to be underestimated in any tournament.
In what will be remembered as one of the most incredible finishes in recent memory, their white marlin weighed 77.5 pounds and took the lead for good. Landed by Jeremy Duffie, Billfisher set the bar high with a new world-record purse of $4,536,000 for a single billfish. C- Student’s white marlin dropped from more than $2 million to a heartbreaking $197,000. Even the tuna division had a million-plus-dollar payday—Southern C’s angler Jason Hersh battled a 247.5-pound bigeye that withstood fierce competition all week, winning the team $1,278,197.
In the tournament’s angling division, Bill Haugland on Lights Out was the winner with a total of 490 points, followed by Max Bet’s Kelly Weber with 420 points. Victor Roof from Miss Maxine was third, also with 420 points but falling just short on time of release.