OCEAN CITY — The first white marlin of the year was caught and released off the coast of the resort last Sunday afternoon, marking the earliest date ever for the annual milestone and the first time it occurred in May.
Captain Mark Hoos and the crew aboard the “Marli” were enjoying a great early season yellowfin tuna bite last Sunday afternoon when the first white marlin of the season off the coast of Ocean City came calling. Hoos said this week the crew had caught about 30 to 40 yellowfin tuna when the white marlin came up in the spread around 2:30 p.m. near the Rockpile in about 125 fathoms and with a water temperature just shy of 72 degrees.
“We were fishing for tuna and hadn’t really thought about looking for a white marlin when it came up in the spread,” said Hoos. “It was a nice eddy of warm water and it just came right up.”
Angler Anthony Pino dropped a naked ballyhoo on the white marlin, which took the bait and made a brief run before being boated. The “Marli” crew boated the first white marlin, worth $10,000 in a combined prize from the Ocean City Marlin Club and the town of Ocean City, before mugging for a few pictures and letting the fish go.
The May 29 date was the earliest ever for the first white marlin of the season since the Marlin Club began keeping records back in the 1930s and the first time the event ever occurred in May.
The previous record was June 1, set in 2002 by the crew aboard the “Enticer”. Ironically, Captain Brian Porter, who was at the helm as the weekend captain of the “Marli” last Sunday afternoon, was then the captain of the “Enticer” in 2002 when the previous record was set.
In addition, the earliest ever white marlin caught last Sunday was not the first for the “Marli” crew. Hoos and the “Marli” caught the first white marlin of the year on June 28 back in 2003.
The milestone has historically occurred in a window of about five or six days from mid- to late-June over the 80 years-plus since the first white marlin was caught off the coast of Ocean City in 1936. While June 1 was the previous record, the latest date ever recorded in the annals of the Ocean City Marlin Club was July 20, 1940.