OCEAN CITY- The 22nd Ocean City Tuna Tournament last weekend produced plenty of drama including a sweep of the two main categories by the captain and crew on the “That’s Right,” which then had to choose the division that gave them the best payday in a rarely evoked rule that a participating boat can only win in one.
At the close of the scale on Sunday, Captain John Oughton and the crew on the “That’s Right” had taken on all comers and stood at the top of the leader board in both the single heaviest fish category with a 158-pound bluefin, and the heaviest total weight category with a stringer weight of 372 pounds. Because tournament rules prohibit a participating boat from winning first place in both categories, the “That’s Right” crew accepted first place in the single heaviest fish category and was awarded $103,802 in total prize money.
The bar was raised early in the tournament with a pair of big bluefin tunas weighed on Friday including a 157-pounder caught by angler Tim Stanley on the “Reel Chaos,” and a 156-pound bluefin weighed by angler Jimmy Fisher on the “Fishomatic.” However, the “That’s Right” was the first boat at the scale when it opened for business on Saturday and weighed the winning 158-pound bluefin.
When it was all said and done, just two pounds separated first from third place in the category. Stanley and the “Reel Chaos” crew were in all of the added entry levels and were awarded the largest single payout in the tournament for second place at $229,830. Fisher and the “Fishomatic” crew took third in the single heaviest tuna category and took home a check for $5,035.
In the heaviest total weight division, the “That’s Right” crew put together the heaviest stringer weight over the two days but could not win both divisions, which moved the other boats with heavy stringer weights up the leader board. The “Billfisher” took top honors in the division with a stringer of 369 pounds and was awarded a check for $96,850. The “Sea Slammer” took second with 338 total pounds and earned $53,183, while the “Always Late” took third with 317 total pounds and was awarded $30,820.
As close as the competition was in the single heaviest tuna category, the heaviest dolphin category was even closer with ties for both first and second place. Angler Curtis Colgate on the “Instigator” weighed a 23-pound dolphin, but angler Sverlana Messick on the “Binnacle” matched the effort with another 23-pounder, producing a tie for first place. Both crews were awarded checks for $1,750. In second place, Mitch Ensor on the “Playmate” weighed a 22-pound dolphin, but he too was matched by angler Wayne Warren on the “Samarai I” with another 22-pounder. Both shared second place and were awarded checks for $250.
The Top Junior Angler award went to Ethan Spencer on the “Wayne’s World” with a 147-pound tuna worth $1,000. Taking second was last year’s winner Charlie Gravina on the “Let It Ride” with a 139-pounder worth $500, while Ryan Kirk on the “Tuna Box” took third with a 136-pounder worth $250. The Top Lady Angler award went to Chris Aiello on the “Realin’ & Dealin’” with a nice 149-pound tuna worth $1,500.