OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Marlin Club’s 30th Annual Canyon Kick-off tournament got underway this morning with the first of three official fishing days.
With tuna practically jumping in the boat for most of the resort area’s sportfishing fleet for the last week or so, and billfish and dolphin turning up in decent numbers offshore, there should be plenty of action in this year’s Canyon Kick-off. Captains must choose to fish two of the three fishing days of the event, the first of which is today. The tournament wraps up with the last day of fishing on Sunday, July 1.
Cash prizes will also be awarded for first-, second-, and third-place in the heaviest fish division, which will reward anglers for bringing the largest and heaviest meatfish to the scales at the marina each day. Points will accumulate for each fish brought to the scales including the heaviest tuna (minimum 30 pounds), the heaviest wahoo (minimum 20 pounds) and the heaviest dolphin (minimum 10 pounds).
The participating boats can put their lines in the water at 8 a.m. each morning, and the gear has to be pulled from the water by 3 p.m. each afternoon. In the points division, fish will be caught and released, while in the heaviest fish division, potential winners will be brought to the scales for weighing.
Weigh-ins will take place each day at Sunset Marina on each of the three fishing days starting at around 5 p.m. until about 7:30 p.m. The event concludes with an awards banquet at the Ocean City Marlin Club at the foot of the commercial harbor in West Ocean City on Monday evening.
The Canyon Kick-off, held each year on or around the Fourth of July weekend, is the first significant event for the Marlin Club each year and serves as a prelude to the more high-profile tournaments of the season including the Ocean City Tuna Tournament next weekend and the White Marlin Open in August.
Last year, 63 boats participated in the tournament and over $54,000 in cash prizes was doled out. The big winner ins last week’s Canyon Kick-Off was the “Stress Reel-ief,” which practically swept the tuna division. The “Stress Reel-ief” took first place in the tuna division with a 142.6-pounder worth $20,081 and also took second in the division with a 99.4-pound tuna worth $2,936.