OCEAN CITY- Moving the 34th Annual Ocean City Shark Tournament up to the last weekend in May for the first time ever was clearly a good decision by event organizers with several big sharks weighed at the scale and over a hundred more released over the three days.
When the tournament was founded over three decades ago, it was always held in the second week in July, but over the years, event organizers moved into mid- to late June with sometimes uneven results. This year, however, Captain Mark Sampson and other tournament organizers moved the tournament up to the last weekend in May for the first time ever and the decision clearly paid dividends. A total of 18 boats participated and the action was lively around the scale at the host Ocean City Fishing Center all weekend. A total of 15 sharks were weighed at the scale and another 108 were released.
In the signature Mako Division, angler Sean Hogan on the “Sweetie” took first place with a 314-pounder worth $10,170. Angler Nate Leader on the “Keep Er Wet” was second with a 193-pound mako and earned $6,660. In the Open Division, angler Blake McGrath on the “Reel Instigator” took first place with a 346-pound thresher worth $5,850. Mike Kreiser on the “Teaser” took second with a 203-pound thresher worth $3,240. Third place in the Open Division went to angler Ricky DeWitt on the “Restless Lady,” while angler Mike Ennis on the “Intimidator” took fourth and Curt Howell on the “Still Searchin” took fifth.
In the Release Division, the prolific local crew on the “Nontypical” took first place with four makos, nine sandbar and 13 blue sharks released and earned $8,226 in prize money. The “Absolut Pleasure” took second with three makos and nine blue shark releases and earned $5,364. Evan Carmen on the “All Hooked Up” took first place in the children’s division with a 142-pound blue shark, Jimmy Tippett on the “Absolut Pleasure” took second in the children’s division with one mako and four blue sharks released and Noah Morris on the “Intimidator” took third in the children’s division with a blue shark release. The total payout in all categories was $43,320.