OCEAN CITY- The Mid-Atlantic $500,000, with home bases in both Cape May and Ocean City, got underway this week with plenty of action as a strong white marlin bite continues in the canyons shared by both ports.
Ocean City’s collective hangover from the White Marlin Open two weeks ago had just about worn off when the next big event on the summer sportfishing calendar opened on Monday. Now in its 17th year, the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 continues to be one of the top sportfishing events in the region with nearly $2 million in prize money expected to be doled out to the winners in several categories.
The tournament began on Monday with the first of five fishing days and concludes this evening. Thus far, the story has been the strong white marlin bite that continues off the coast of the two resorts. Through the first three days of the tournament, participating boats had weighed 18 qualifying white marlin at the scales in the two marinas and released another 266 for a total of 284, which is slightly more than the first three days of the White Marlin Open two weeks ago despite having less than half the number of boats participating.
Five years ago, MA500 organizers opened up Ocean City as a second port from which to fish and Sunset Marina in West Ocean City was added as a second weigh station and host for the tournament. For the last three years, boats fishing out of Ocean City stole the show in the last two days of the event, and it remains to be seen if history will repeat itself, but thus far, boats fishing out of Cape May are filling out most of the top spots on the leaderboard.
On Wednesday, for example, the “Viking 68” weighed a 77-pound white marlin to move into first place in the tournament’s glamour division. At the close of business on Wednesday, the 77-pound white marlin caught by the crew on the “Viking 68” was worth a little over $700,000. The “Viking 68” was the top boat in the WMO with 10 white marlin releases.
As of yesterday, the crew aboard the “Gina Lisa” was in second in the white marlin category with a 75-pounder worth $138,397, while the “Uncle T” was in third with a 74-pounder worth $84,042.
In the blue marlin division, the “Cookie II” sat atop the leader board with the only qualifier, a 453-pounder worth $380,817. The heaviest tuna belonged to the “Sea Hag,” a 69-pounder worth $192,752, while three boats- the “Shark Byte,” the “Beast” and the “April Fool” shared a tie for second place with 67-pounders. The “Triple Crown” led the dolphin division with 34-pounder, while the “Southern Comfort” led the wahoo division with a 66-pounder.