White Marlin Bite Strong in Labor Day Tourney

OCEAN CITY- Despite a relatively low number of boats participating, the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 51st Annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament produced some impressive results with over 100 billfish released over the three days last weekend.

While it may lack the glamour and high payouts of the White Marlin Open, for example, the Marlin Club’s annual Labor Day weekend tournament trumps all others in terms of history and prestige. The first was held in 1958 and the annual event has endured for five decades and several generations of local anglers.

Just 23 boats participated in the tournament last weekend, which is up from the 19 that fished in the event the prior year, but there was no shortage of action off the coast as billfish continued to show up in huge numbers. In the days leading up to the tournament, several boats reported double-digit billfish releases on a single day and the trend continued in the tournament. Marlin Club officials reported over 100 white marlin alone were released during the holiday tournament last week.

As the name implies, the focus on the tournament is on white marlin, but there weren’t any billfish weighed at the scales at Sunset Marina over the weekend. The tournament’s winner in the billfish category accumulated the most release points over the three days of fishing. White marlin, sailfish or spearfish releases were worth 100 points, while blue marlin and swordfish releases were worth 150 points.

In the billfish release division, it was the crew on the “Big Oh” taking the tournament’s top prize with 1,200 release points worth $21,510. The crew on the “Cyntinory” also accumulated 1,200 release points during the three-day tournament, but was awarded $3,600 because of added entry levels. The “Phat Mann” crew took third in the division with 900 release points.

In the Daily Billfish-Level A, the “Cyntinory” crew won $3,825 on Day One, while the “Big Oh” won $3,825 on Day Two. In the Daily Billfish-Level B, it was the “Phat Mann” crew taking $4,500 on Day One and the “Big Oh” taking $4,500 on Day Two. The “Shadowfax” took third in the dolphin division with a 14.4-pounder but was awarded $12,521 because of added entry levels. The “Wirenut” took first in the tuna division with a 50.80-pounder worth $990, while the “Bali Who” took first in the wahoo division with a 26-pounder worth $496.