OCEAN CITY- The 11th Annual Mako Mania shark tournament at Bahia Marina last weekend provided no shortage of excitement with a 468-pound thresher among the very first fish weighed at the scale on Thursday, Day One of the event, and several large makos brought in throughout the weekend.
Mako Mania is typically the first real offshore event of the summer fishing tournament series in the resort, and as such, it is never certain just how many, if any, sharks will be brought in to Bahia Marina. Any doubts about the appearance of large sharks in the waters off the coast were dispelled early last week when the crew aboard the “Shelly II” brought a 468-pound thresher to the scales, much to the delight of the huge crowd that had assembled for day one of the tournament.
The big thresher caught by the crew aboard the “Shelly II” held on for the entire weekend and won the tournament’s thresher division and was the largest shark brought to the scales during the three days. The thresher, caught by angler Chris Lynch, with Captain Lloyd Behney, was worth $3,860 in prize money.
However, as its name implies, the Mako Mania tournament is all about makos and that’s where the big money was doled out last week. The top prize in the tournament went to the “Jezebel,” with Captain Chester Sadowski and angler Doug Mazullo, for a 196.5-pound mako worth over $29,000. Second place in the mako division and a check for over $9,600 went to the “Press Time” with Captain Luke Blume and angler John Schmitz, Jr. for a 184.8-pounder. Captain Mark Keller and the crew aboard the “Marli” took third place in the mako division with a 158-pounder worth over $6,400.
In the Bluefish Division, it was angler Justin Michalski fishing aboard the “Uptite” taking first place with a 14-pounder worth $500. However, it was the “Hydro” with Captain Marshal Vitale and angler Shawn Vitale taking the top money prize in the division with an 11.9-pound bluefish worth $3,800 because of added entry levels. Angler Bob Stokes, fishing aboard the “Yellowfin” with Captain Chuck Woodard, took third place in the bluefish division with a 10.8-pounder worth $1,887.
It was a great tournament with 41 boats and 172 anglers participating and over $56,000 in prize money doled out. Over the three days of fishing, 14 makos, one thresher and 15 bluefish were officially weighed in. Like most tournaments in the area, the conservation of the various species is paramount to success, and to that end, an award is given out for the most shark releases. The “Tail to Tale” took the W.W. Harman Award this year with 17 shark releases.