21st Poor Girl’s 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 21st year, the Poor Girl’s 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 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 all year long.

In the last three years alone, the Poor Girl’s Open has raised well 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 in the Billfish Release Division, the team on the “Absolute Pleasure” took first place with two blue marlin and two white marlin releases and earned a tournament-high $32,000 in prize money. The crew on the “Knot Tellin” was second with one blue marlin and three white marlin releases and earned $19,200. The “Fin-Ness” crew took third place in the Billfish Release division with two blue marlin and one white marlin releases and earned $12,800.

In the Tuna Division, the “Jade II” crew swept the top two spots with the first place winner as 261-pounder caught by angler Stacy Thomas worth $7,710. Angler Holly Melson, also on the “Jade II,” took second place with a 228-pounder worth $3,726. Angler Michelle Blanchard on the “Osprey” was third with a 210-pounder worth $2,484.

In the Dolphin Division, it was angler Christina Wells on the “Absolute Pleasure” taking first place with a 20-pounder worth $7,710. Angler Steff Ostriski was second with a 16-pounder worth $3,726. Lily Phipps on the “Aqua Dance” was third with a 13-pounder worth $2,484. The 13-year-old Phipps was also named Top Junior Angler.