OCEAN CITY – Last night was one for the books at the 35th Annual White Marlin Open, which kicked off Monday and concludes in Ocean City on Friday.
Tournament officials reported their busiest day ever at the weigh scale with more than 40 fish weighed in. Exactly 300 boats are competing in this year’s event for a purse of $2.2 million.
After the busy first day, Tommy Hinkle of Berlin and the crew of the Fish Whistle stand to make $1.3 million for the 81-pound white marlin it hung. Past history shows this is a nice-sized fish with a great chance of hanging on all week, but four more fishing days remain, and anything can happen.
Hinkle is well-known in the area and is a familiar face in the White Marlin Open, having fished the tourney for years. He is a local teacher who recently relocated to the shore from the Baltimore area.
There is a tie for second in the top white marlin division with Bill Scott of Baltimore and the CGI Finance boat and John Conrad of Lilitz, Pa. and the DA Sea each bringing a 71.5-pound beauty to the Harbour Island Marina. Estimated prize money is $165,000 each after the busy first day.
There were no blue marlin caught on Monday.
The other major division is the tuna with 20 caught on Monday. Leading the way is a 106.5-pounder, hooked by Shawn R. Cook of Hartly, Md. aboard the Ocean Dan-Sar, which stands to make $169,000. The Pretty Work and Robert D. Krug of Walltownship, N.J. is in second place with a 104-pound tuna worth $65,000.
For all the week’s news and updates of this year’s White Marlin Open, see The Dispatch’s online edition all week and the print recap on Friday.