NEW FOR MONDAY: 204 Boats Fishing In Today’s White Marlin Open

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OCEAN CITY — The 40th Annual White Marlin Open began in earnest this morning with 204 of the registered 262 boats chugging out of the Inlet amid cheers from hundreds of spectators that lined the seawall at the Inlet in Ocean City.

A total of 262 boats are competing this week in the 40th White Marlin Open, the largest and richest tournament of its kind in the world, and 204 of them chugged out to the canyons off the coast of Ocean City early this morning in search of a big, fat white marlin and the largest fish in any of the other categories including blue marlin, tuna, dolphin, wahoo and shark. The estimated payout for the 2013 tournament is $2.4 million.

Following a time-honored tradition, nearly all of the boats are out there fishing on Day One, which has historically produced some amazing results and many of the winners. In some years, the winning white marlin is caught on the first day and the angler and boat crew sweat out the rest of the week as challenger after challenger is weighed at the scale at host Harbour Island. In other years, the winning white is brought in on the last day in nearly the last hour.

Participating boats choose to fish three of the five days. Each day, Harbour Island becomes the center of the sportfishing universe with thousands of fans cramming into the marina for the chance to see the drama unfold. The scale officially opens today at 4 p.m.

The Dispatch will provide daily updates throughout the week.

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