2010 WMO One for the Books

OCEAN
CITY- The 37th White Marlin Open, which concluded with a flourish
last Friday, was certainly one for the books with a local angler taking the top
prize in the glamorous white marlin division with a whopping 97.5-pounder, the
second largest ever caught during the tournament, and a monster 1,000-pound
plus blue marlin, also the second largest ever caught during the event, taking
first in that division.

The
tournament got underway last Monday with 243 of the registered 255 boats
heading out to the canyons off the coast in search of fame and fortune, and Day
One proved to be epic with a record number of fish weighed at the scale at host
Harbour Island. While the scale typically closes each day around 9:15 p.m., but
last Monday, boats waiting to weigh fish were still stacked up in the marina at
10:30 p.m. in what would proved to be an epic day.

The
very first fish weighed on Monday was a 66-pound white marlin caught by the
“Canyon Express,” which briefly landed in the top spot on the leader board.
Fame was fleeting for the “Canyon Express” as white marlin after white marlin
was weighed on Monday. When the scales finally closed on Day One, a 78.5-pound
white marlin caught by the “Troublemaker” sat atop the leader board, but there
was a lot of fishing yet to go.

On
Tuesday, everything changed dramatically in the span of about a half an hour as
the white marlin leader board was erased, rewritten and erased again. The third
weighed on Tuesday was a 92-pound white landed by local angler Tommy Fowler on
the “Sea Toy,” which quickly took over the top spot. Now ordinarily, a 92-pound
white would have been plenty big enough to win most years. Only four 90-pound-plus
whites had ever been weighed in the 36-year history of the event including a
93.5-pounder that won last years’ event.

Next
up was the crew on the “D.A. Sea,” which weighed a 79-pound white to move into
second place, but the excitement was far from over. About 10 minutes later,
popular local captain Tommy Jones and the crew on the “Kingfisher” weighed an
80.5-pound white to move into second place, but the best was yet to come.

Right
after the “Kingfisher” hoisted its second-place white, local angler Brian
Roberts and the crew aboard the “Shelly II” created the biggest splash at the
packed marina with a 97.5-pound white marlin, the second largest ever caught
during the tournament and second only to the WMO record 99-pounder caught by
angler Steve Bass way back in 1980, or 30 years earlier.

When
the dust settled after a whirlwind Tuesday, Roberts and the “Shelly II” crew
sat atop the leader board with its whopping 97.5-pound white, with the Fowler
and the “Sea Toy” in second and Jones and the “Kingfisher” crew in third, but
Friday and the close of the tournament was still a long way off. When the
scales closed for good and the curtain came down on the 2010 White Marlin Open
on Friday night, Roberts and the “Shelly II” crew went unchallenged and took
home the tournament’s top prize of $856,507. Fowler and the “Sea Toy” remained
in second and were awarded $92,017, while Jones and the “Kingfisher” crew took
third and received $60,636.

While
the glamorous white marlin division captured the attention of the big crowds at
Harbour Island all week, the blue marlin division created its own share of the
drama. On Monday, angler Trey Little of Rockport, Texas, fishing on the
“Scandalous,” thrilled the big opening day crowd with a 790-pound blue marlin
that leaped to the top of the leaderboard.

In
most years, the 790-pound blue would be more than big enough to win the
division, but recent history showed the monster blue might not hold up. Just
last year, angler Robert Farris on the “No Problem” landed a 1,062-pound blue
marlin, becoming the first “grander” in WMO history and toppling a tournament
record that had stood for two decades.

On
Tuesday, lightning struck twice as the crew aboard the “Let It Ride,” out of
Fair Haven, N.J. was waiting at the scale when it opened at 4 p.m. with a
special catch on board. When the big blue was hauled from the boat and hoisted
up the scale, it topped out at 1,010.5 pounds, only the second grander in WMO
history and the second in two years. The big blue, caught by angler James
Kontos of Crested Butte, Col., took the blue marlin division’s top prize of
$423,040, while Little and the “Scandalous” crew settled into second and was
awarded $118,647. No other qualifying blue marlin were weighed during the 2010
event.

While
Little and the “Scandalous” crew had to settle for second in the blue marlin
division, they weren’t finished making a big splash at the 2010 WMO. At the
close of Monday’s marathon, angler Travis Boone on the “That’s Right” with
Captain John Oughton weighed a 76.5-pound tuna to take over the top spot in the
division that had changed frequently on Day One. Boone and the “That’s Right”
crew held onto first in the division all week as challenger after challenger
fell just short.

However,
on Friday, Little and the “Scandalous” crew rolled into the marina with a
77.5-pound tuna to take over the top spot in the division, nudging the “That’s
Right” crew into second place by a mere pound. In the end, the “Scandalous”
took the top prize of $283,168, while Boone and the “That’s Right” took second
and was awarded $55,780. Caitlin Schiffer on the “Lucky Duck II” took third and
earned $10,459, while angler Kevin Miles on the “Sea Hag” took fourth and
earned $12,878.

In
the end, Little and the “Scandalous” crew had earned second-place in the blue
marlin division and first in the tuna division to win just over $400,000
combined. The dolphin division was all but over and done with on the first day.
Angler Cory Bubb on the “Top Gun” took first in terms of weight with a
53.5-pounder worth $4,375, while Tim Warner on the “White Lightning” took
second in terms of weight with a 51.5-pounder, but first in terms of prize
money with $25,817 because of added entry levels. Rob Bennett on the “Queen
Anne” took third with a 43-pounder and was awarded $2,375.

The
only qualifying wahoo weighed during the 2010 WMO was caught by angler Zachary
Gelacek on the “Banshee II,” a 47.5-pounder worth $6,875. No qualifying sharks
were weighed during the tournament.

 

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