OCEAN CITY- Before the big boys hit the seas for the 42nd White Marlin Open next week, lady anglers throughout the resort area will have their moment in the sun this weekend with the arrival of the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 7th Annual Heels and Reels Tournament.
The ladies-only tournament got underway yesterday with registration and a captain’s meeting, but the real action gets started today with the first of two official fishing days. Captains and teams of anglers must choose to fish one of two days, either Friday or Saturday. The Heels and Reels Tournament is the club’s only ladies-only event in its summer-long tournament series and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Ocean City Marlin Club’s Bertha Holloway Auxiliary Scholarship Fund.
Essentially, it’s a boat tournament, meaning awards will be distributed to the top boat teams and not individual anglers. According to tournament rules, anyone may hook the fish, but it must be immediately handed off to a lady angler on board. Weigh-ins will be held each day at Sunset Marina in West Ocean City from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The tournament will conclude with an awards banquet at the Marlin Club in West Ocean City on Saturday night.
Last year, the tournament raised nearly $4,000 for the auxiliary scholarship fund. In the Billfish Release Division, it was the crew on the “Sea Slammer” taking first place with 500 total release points. The “Sea Slammer” team, including Vicky and Debbie McCann, Maria Herron and Suzette Frank, who caught her first white marlin, earned $12,240 in prize money. The crew on the “Jenny Poo,” including Jenn Pastorius and Kristen Brown, who also caught and released her first white, scored 400 release points and earned $2,754.
In the Tuna Division, it was Tamara Sears fishing aboard the “Grande Pez” taking first place with a 63.8-pounder worth $1,282. Corky Mock on the “Slaughterhouse” was second with a 62.8-pounder worth $1,714, while Sears on the “Grande Pez” took third with a 57.2-pounder and earned another $513. Brandy Parker on the “Marli” took fourth with a 56.4-pounder worth $3,375 because of added entry levels. Heather Thompson and Lisa Malaska on the “Jezebel” took fifth and earned $567, while Wendy Goll on the “Knot Again” took sixth and earned $378.
In the dolphin division, angler Bernadette Mumford on the “Knot Again” took first place with a 49.6-pounder worth $5,602. Maria Baiocco, also on the “Knot Again” took second with an 18-pounder worth $1,336. Jen Otto on the “Last Call” took third in the dolphin division with a 17-pounder worth $891. The Top Junior Angler Award went to Shannon Stickles on the “White Lightning” with a 16.8-pound dolphin worth $500.