18th Annual Poor Girls Open Underway

OCEAN CITY- With the drama of the high-dollar, high-profile White Marlin Open dispensed with last week, the resort area’s lady anglers get their turn in the spotlight this weekend with the return of the Poor Girl’s Open, which got underway yesterday with the first day of fishing.

Now in its 18th year, the Poor Girls Open, which typically falls on the weekend after the White Marlin Open, was founded in 1994 by the late Captain Steve Harman and his wife Pam to a provide a ladies-only fishing event with the proceeds donated to a local charity. In recent years, the American Cancer Society has been the recipient of choice in conjunction with other “pink ribbon” events held in and around the resort area all year long.

In the last three years alone, the Poor Girls Open has raised over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research and awareness programs. In addition to the fishing, the event includes silent auctions, 50-50 raffles, T-shirt sales and other events, all at tournament headquarters at Bahia Marina in Ocean City.

Despite its charitable overtones, the tournament is all about the fishing and the dozens of boats and hundreds of competitors take it very seriously. The tournament is a catch-and-release event with points awarded for billfish releases. There are also added entry levels for tuna and dolphin with potential winning fish weighed each day of the tournament at host Bahia Marina. Teams of lady anglers must choose to fish one of the three officials fishing days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Last year, 79 boats and 361 lady anglers participated with thousands in prize money doled out to the winners in several categories. The big winner, however, was the American Cancer Society, which once again received a big check from the tournament.

The big story last year was the team of lady anglers on the “Fin-Ness,” which took first place in the billfish release division with 10 white marlin releases and was awarded the tournament’s top prize of $27,275. The “Fin-Ness” crew also swept first, second and third place in the tuna division and first and third place in the dolphin division.

In the release division, it was the “Fin-Ness” taking first with 10 white marlin releases worth $27,275, while the “Samurai” was second with four white releases worth $16,365, and the “Playmate” was third, also with four white marlin releases, worth $10,930. In the tuna division, it was all “Fin-Ness” as the crew swept to top three spots. The “Fin-Ness” crew also dominated the dolphin division, taking and first and third place.