OCEAN CITY – The first day of the 2009 White Marlin produced its share of excitement at host Harbour Island with one qualifying white sitting atop the leader board currently worth over $1.5 million, although that will likely change, and a bunch of monster tuna also on the board.
In years past, Day One has always been one of the busiest days and has often produced the winner in the tournament’s glamour division including last year. It remains to be seen if it will hold up, but angler Daniel C. Deer, a tournament veteran fishing aboard the “True Grit,” weighed a 67.5-pound white marlin on Monday evening to take over the top spot for at least one day.
According to tournament officials, the 67.5-pounder would be worth $1.56 million if the tournament ended after the first day, but that will likely change. There are currently no other qualifying whites on the board although a few near misses were weighed on Monday, and there are also no blue marlins on the leader board. If Deer and the “True Grit” crew hold on all week and the other spots on the board are filled in, the fish will likely be worth around $860,000.
Deer is no stranger to the White Marlin Open, having fished the tournament for 22 years. He has been to the scales at different times over the years and was named angler of the year in the tournament in 1989. The “True Grit” is also a fixture in the tournament having won some categories and awards over the years including top boat in 1989.
While just one qualifying white marlin was raised at the scale at Harbour Island on Monday, there was plenty of action in the tuna division with several big fish brought in. At the end of the day, angler Doug Salter on the “Shadowfax” sat atop the tuna leader board with a whopping 249-pounder temporarily worth around $170,000. Angler Ed Gross on the “Foolish Pleasures” is currently in second in the division with a 207.5-pounder currently worth $61,000, while John Lavell on the “Risky Business” sits in third place with a 152.5-pounder currently worth about $25,000.
In the dolphin division, angler Gerald Whittstadt on the “Two Days” is currently in first place with a 37-pounder worth $13,500, while Steve Fleming on the “No Worries” sits in second with a 32-pounder worth $3,000. Angler Steve Magdeberger on the “Out of Bounds” is currently in third place in the dolphin division with a 31.5 pounder currently worth $2,000. There were no qualifying blue marlin, wahoo or shark weighed on Day One.
Day Two got underway early this morning with 211 of the 298 boats registered in the tournament out in the canyons off the coast hoping to shake up the leader board from Day One. The scales at Harbour Island open at 4 p.m. today, and with 211 boats out there, there is sure to be some big fish weighed again today.
For continual updates of this year’s tournament action, see The Dispatch’s website daily.