OCEAN CITY- The inaugural Big Fish Classic, the newest addition to the resort area’s summer-long series of offshore fishing tournaments, gets underway today with late registration, a captain’s meeting and other festivities at host Talbot Street Pier.
The tournament is new in the sense it is being held for the very first time this weekend, but old in the sense it will evoke Ocean City’s century-old sportfishing past. The tournament will be hosted by the Talbot Street Pier, which is essentially the epicenter of the resort’s rich fishing history. In the nascent days of Ocean City’s fishing history, historic Talbot Street was always at the center of the action with offshore boats unloading epic catches of billfish and tuna on the docks.
In the decades since, marinas have sprouted up all over the resort area and in West Ocean City, but Talbot Street is where it all began. In that spirit, the new Big Fish Classic is a two-day, 32-hour tournament where the largest fish caught of any species will be rewarded. There are several categories for which anglers and boats will be rewarded, but the essence of the event is bringing the biggest fish to the historic Talbot Street docks.
The event gets started today with late registration, a captain’s meeting and kickoff party at host M.R. Ducks. Participating boats can leave the sea buoy at 3 a.m. on Saturday with lines in the water at 7 a.m. Lines have to be out of the water by 3 p.m. on Sunday, In between, participating boats can choose to fish both days, or stay out overnight for the entire 32-hour period.
Participating boats can depart from any port from New Jersey to Virginia, but qualifying fish have to be weighed at Talbot Street. The boats must fish within 100 nautical miles of Ocean City, however. The scale at Talbot Street is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Each day will feature a festival of big fish, live music, food and drink in and around the Talbot Street Pier at M.R. Ducks and the historic Angler restaurant. The Angler will host the awards banquet on Sunday. Incidentally, the Angler was issued the first-ever building permit for a dock on the bayside in Ocean City over 70 years ago.
There are several divisions in the tournament with a guaranteed payout of $20,000 and with added optional entry levels the total purse doled out will likely soar. The tournament has several divisions, including the largest fish weighed during the two-day event, whether it’s a tuna, shark, wahoo or mahi, for example. There is also a winner take all white marlin division, a top three heaviest fish division and heaviest tuna, dolphin, wahoo or shark division.