Restaurateur Hooks Season’s First White Marlin

OCEAN CITY – The offshore fishing season in the waters around the resort area has been growing increasingly hotter over the last few weeks with sharks of all species and sizes turning up and tuna and dolphin plentiful, but the missing piece to the puzzle until Wednesday was the appearance of the first white marlin.

Local angler and restaurateur Terry Layton, fishing aboard the “Nontypical” with Captain Jim Hughes, caught and released the first white marlin of the season on Wednesday. The 69-inch white marlin hit a trolled ballyhoo in 74-degree water just outside the Poor Man’s Canyon on Wednesday. Layton will receive a check for $5,000 from the town of Ocean City for catching the first white marlin of the season as well as an additional $1,000 from the Ocean City Marlin Club for being a club member.

Layton’s catch of the first white marlin continues a recent hot streak for the captain and crew of the “Nontypical,” which last weekend took first and third place in the mako division of the annual Mako Mania tournament out of Bahia Marina.

Layton’s first white marlin of the 2009 season ironically came just one day later than the first white marlin of the season last year. In 2008, angler Jim Minner, fishing aboard the “Judge” out of Cape May, N.J., caught and released the first white marlin of the year on June 9. Otherwise, there was nothing too remarkable about the date of the first white this year.

The date typically falls within a window of about five or six days in mid- to late-June each year when the milestone has been reached most frequently in the 70 years or so since the first white marlin was caught of the coast of Ocean City in 1936. The earliest date ever came on June 1, 2002, while the latest date ever recorded in the annals of the Marlin Club was July 20, 1940.