OC Boat Takes Top Prize in MA500

OC Boat Takes Top Prize in MA500
lights out

OCEAN CITY- For the fourth straight year, an Ocean City-based boat took the top prize in the Mid-Atlantic $500,000 when the “Lights Out” won the white marlin category with an 83-pounder weighed a Sunset Marina to earn over $650,000 in prize money.
The Mid-Atlantic $500,000 continues to be one of the top sportfishing events in the region with over $2 million in prize money doled out to the winners in several categories. Tournament headquarters has always been the Canyon Club in Cape May, N.J. and that hasn’t changed, but the increased number of boats fishing out of the resort area has given the event a decidedly Ocean City flair in recent years.
Eight years ago, MA500 organizers opened up Ocean City as a second port from which to fish and the change was met with great enthusiasm. For the first two years, however, any Ocean City boat that caught a qualifying fish had to transport it to the official scaled in Cape May. Six years ago, however, Sunset Marina in West Ocean City was added as an official sister port for the event and the local anglers participating in the MA500 began to weigh potentially winning fish at their home port.
For the fourth straight year, a boat fishing out of Ocean City’s Sunset Marina finished first in the signature white marlin category. Angler Bill Haugland and the crew on the “Lights Out” weighed an 83-pounder mid-week and it stood up the rest of the way to claim the top prize and $654,416 despite some late challenges. On the tournament’s last day on Friday, angler Scott Cohen on the “C-Jam” pulled into Cape May and weighed an 81-pounder to take second place and earn $101,890. Angler Michael Taylor on the “Caitlan Taylor” took third place with a 73-pound white marlin worth $94,789.
In the blue marlin category, angler Sean O’Donnell on the “Got Game” took first place with a 441-pounder worth $236,522. Angler Carmine Falcone on the “Cookie II” took second with a 437-pound blue marlin and earned $151,805. Because there were only two qualifying blue marlin weighed, the third place money rolled into the first- and second-place purse in the category.
The tuna division produced the most drama in the tournament with several lead changes throughout the week as the remarkable big-eye bite continued. When the dust settled, it was angler Adam LaRosa on the “Canyon Runner” taking first place with a 243-pounder worth $191,214. Angler Michael Yocco on the “MJ’s” was second with a 213-pounder worth $82,157. Angler Jim Jensen on the “Plane Simple” was third with a 203-pounder worth $67,142.
First place in the wahoo division went to angler Gina Addeo on the “Gina Lisa” with a 77-pounder worth $9,360. The “A1A” took first place in the dolphin division with a 38-pounder worth $9,360. A total of 252 white marlin were released during the tournament, while 14 were boated. A total of 16 blue marlin were released and two were boated, while 16 tuna, five wahoo and three dolphin were weighed.