OCEAN CITY- The resort area’s collective hangover from last week’s White Marlin Open has just about worn off in time for the next big event on the summer sportfishing calendar- the Mid-Atlantic $500,000, a Cape May, N.J.-based tournament that will again have a strong presence in Ocean City again this year.
Now in its 19th year, the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 continues to be one of the top sport fishing events in the region with over $2 million in prize money expected to be doled out again this year. Tournament headquarters has always been the Canyon Club in Cape May, and that hasn’t changed, but the increased number of boats from the resort area has given the event a decidedly Ocean City flair.
Seven years ago, MA500 organizers opened up Ocean City as a second port from which to fish and the change was met with great enthusiasm. For the first two years, however, any Ocean City boat that caught a qualifying fish had to transport it to the official scales in Cape May.
Five years ago, however, Sunset Marina in West Ocean City was added as an official sister port for the event and local anglers participating in the MA500 began to weigh potentially winning fish at their homeport. For three straight years, a boat fishing out of Ocean City swooped in on the last day to steal the tournament’s top prize, and a little bit of the thunder from their Jersey Shore brethren, with a big white marlin.
Last year, the Ocean City-based “Billfisher” weighed an 88-pound white at Sunset Marina on the tournament’s very first day and held on all week to take the top spot in the division and the tournament’s top prize of $791,442. The “Lady Luck,” also out of Ocean City, tied the “Billfisher” on the last day with an 88-pounder and earned $288,544.