OCEAN CITY- The 24th Ocean City Tuna Tournament, played out over three days at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City last weekend, was one for the books with a whopping 259-pounder weighed early on Day One and a record-breaking stringer weight by the same crew that stood up all weekend.
With tuna practically jumping in the boats this summer, last week’s 24th Annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament had the potential to be one of the best in recent memory. After three days, the tournament lived up to the potential and then some, although there wasn’t a lot of drama after the crew on the “Crush Em” rolled into the marina early on Friday.
The “Crush Em” crew rolled in shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday, not long after the scale opened on Day One, and weighed a 259-pounder. The big crowd around the marina cheered as the 259-pound tuna was raised on the scale, which set the bar almost impossibly high right from the start. However, the “Crush Em” crew wasn’t finished.
The crew on board the “Crush Em” then proceeded to unload a stringer of tuna that totaled a remarkable 594 pounds when the scale settled. The 594-pound stringer topped the existing tournament record by as many as 100 pounds.
Per tournament rules, a single boat cannot win both the heaviest single tuna category and the heaviest stringer weight category, so the “Crush Em” crew ultimately had to decide which category to claim. However, it was only Friday and there were still two more days of fishing left, so it was a decision that would have to wait.
Participating captains and crews among the tournament’s 87 boats had to choose to fish any two of the three days, and most went out on Friday. Several big tuna were weighed over the next two days, but the “Crush Em” held on without any serious challengers after making a big splash on Day One.
In the end, the “Crush Em” crew chose to heaviest single tuna category and was awarded $243,797 in prize money. The “First & More” took second with a 155-pounder and earned $12,849, while the “Myra HT” took third with a 128-pounder worth $6.601.
The crew aboard the “Grand Pez” took first in the heaviest stringer weight category with a group of big tuna weighing 390 pounds and was awarded $73,540 in prize money. The “Espadon” was second with a 376-pound stringer and earned $41,356, while the “Rhonda’s Osprey” took third in the category with a 376-pound string and was awarded $24,286 in prize money.
In the dolphin division, the “Playtime” took first place with a 34-pounder worth $8,800. The “Salt Lick” was second with a 31-pounder and earned $1,000, while the “Reel Chaos” took third with a 25-pound dolphin worth $500. The “Tar Heel” swept the Junior Angler category with three tuna weighing 52, 51 and 49 pounds and earned a total of $1,750.
The “Myra HT” took first in the Lady Angler category with a 128-pounder worth $1,500. The “Tar Heel” took second and the “Give It Away” took third in the category. A total of $476,730 in prize money was awarded to the winners.