OCEAN CITY- Local anglers hoping to avoid the crowds and holiday shopping this weekend and perhaps win some money instead of spending it are participating in the third annual Black Friday 550 Rockfish Tournament, which got underway this morning out of the Ocean City Fishing Center.
For 36 hours this weekend, local fishing enthusiasts looking for an alternative to holiday shopping are taking to the waters in and around the resort area for the third annual Black Friday 550. The tournament got underway this morning and will conclude at 6 p.m. tomorrow night.
As the name of the event implies, the only species targeted during the tournament will be rockfish, or striped bass. Each boat will be able to weigh four total rockfish within the 36-hour fishing period and the designated captain will be responsible for determining which of a boat’s four largest fish should be weighed. All fish brought to the scale must adhere to state and federal retention limits, and any fish that does not meet the limits will lead to the disqualification of a boat and its anglers.
Cash prizes for the largest rockfish weighed will be awarded at different intervals during the two-day event with a winner-take-all prize for the largest single rockfish weighed during the tournament. Added entry level daily money will be divided into each of the four weigh-in periods throughout the tournament. If no fish are weighed during any given period, that prize money will be added to the next period’s prize.
The anticipated payout for the Black Friday tournament this year is $10,500 based on a minimum of 20 boats participating. Last year’s event paid out about $7,000.
The tournament got underway early this morning with lines in the water at 6 a.m. The official scale at the Ocean City Fishing Center will be open today from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 5-7 p.m. On Saturday, the scale will be open from 9-11 a.m. and again from 5-7 p.m. The tournament will conclude with an awards dinner tomorrow night at Mickey Finn’s at the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City, which is hosting the annual tournament. Proceeds from a raffle during the awards dinner will go to the Worcester County Austistic Children’s Support Group.