OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Marlin Club’s attempt to retire the Challenge Cup with three straight victories in the decades-long series came up a little short last weekend as Cape May took the 34th meeting between the two clubs.
The Challenge Cup, which pits teams of boats from the Ocean City Marlin Club against teams from the Cape May Marlin and Tuna Club, officially began in 1979 as a formal competition between the friendly rivals, which meet in the canyons off the Ocean City coast each September to battle for the coveted trophy. After 33 years, the competition could not have been closer going into last weekend as both clubs had won 14 times in the series. There were a few years when the tournament wasn’t held or the results weren’t recorded.
With the win last year, Ocean City had won two in a row and three of the past four and was looking to retire the trophy for the first time in several years. Any time one of the clubs wins three Challenge Cups in a row, the trophy is retired and the losing club bucks up for a new trophy. The Challenge Cup was last retired after Cape May won three straight from 2002 to 2005, but with two straight wins the last two years, Ocean City had a chance to retire the cup last weekend.
However, Cape May had different plans. Cape May entered the tourney last weekend with 25 boats participating, while Ocean City had 17 boats entered. Only the catch of each clubs top six boats count in the standings. After two days of fishing, Cape May had collected 950 billfish release points to Ocean City’s 775 to take the 2012 Challenge Cup and avoid the indignity of having lost three in a row.
On Day One, the crew on the “Electric Ark” out of Cape May was the daily points winner with 825, while Ocean City’s top boat was the “Espadon” with 600 points. On the tournament’s second day, Cape May’s “Fishaholic” took top daily honors with 675 points, while the crew on the “D.A. Sea” took top honors for Ocean City with 600 points. The award for the most overall points over the two-day event went to the “Krazy Salts” out of Ocean City. In the end, Cape May edged Ocean City by roughly 14 white marlin.