OCEAN CITY – There was plenty of action on the first day of fishing in the 34th Annual White Marlin Open with at least official fish in each category including a 71.5-pound white marlin caught by veteran angler Craig Ziegler on the “Intrinsic” currently worth $1.4 million.
Ziegler and the crew aboard the “Intrinsic” had an epic day on Monday, boating the current leader in the white marlin division and releasing four others for a total of five on Day One. The “Intrinsic” released its first white marlin of the day at 8:52 a.m. and landed the 71.5-pounder currently in first place at 9:47 a.m. The last release of the day for the “Intrinsic” came at 12:13 p.m., making it five total white marlins in a little over three hours.
Currently, the second-place white marlin is a 70-pounder caught by angler Gary McCullay fishing aboard the “Triple Crown.” The second-place white, weighed late in the evening on Monday, is currently worth over $182,000.
With four fishing days remaining, it is uncertain whether or not the first two white marlin of the tournament will hold up all week. They are decent size at 71.5 and 70 pounds and smaller fish have won the tournament in the past, but there is a lot of tournament still to go and the leader board will likely change over the course of the week.
While the activity in the white marlin division certainly captured the most attention from the thousands of spectators that crammed into Harbour Island on Monday, but there was plenty of other action with at least one qualifying fish caught in each of the other categories. One that made the biggest splash was the 567-pound blue marlin caught by angler Bob Belansen on a boat fittingly called “Beast.” The big blue took the top spot in the blue marlin division on Day One and is currently worth just under $846,000.
There were also plenty of big tuna weighed on Monday with the top three spots in the division filled out early. Currently in first place is a 259-pounder weighed by angler Jonathan Stallings in the “Wet Floors” currently worth $2,000. The second-place tuna currently is a 191-pounder brought in by angler Rob Grodzicki fishing aboard the “Ursula Priscilla” worth over $95,000 because of added entry levels. Angler Mike Bromwell, fishing aboard the “TAG,” currently sits in third place in the tuna division with 130.5-pounder worth nearly $39,000.
Angler Patrick Sciacca, fishing aboard the “Blinky III”, currently holds the top spot in the dolphin division with a 23.5-pounder worth $6,500.
Two qualifying wahoo were weighed on Monday with a 74.5-pounder caught by angler Paul Crampton aboard the “Marlin Magic” currently is first place followed by angler William McAteer, who caught a 66-pound wahoo while fishing aboard the “Wet and Wild.”
The lone shark weighed on Monday was a 111-pound mako caught by angler Mike Brennan on the “Smoker.”
Of the nearly 400 boats registered for the tournament, 308 fished on Monday. The scales open again today at 4 p.m. and the leader board will likely change again.
Check out The Dispatch website for daily updates and pick up Friday’s print edition for a complete wrap-up and plenty of pictures.