22nd Annual Poor Girl’s Open Underway

OCEAN CITY- After the drama of the high dollar, high profile White Marlin Open subsides, the resort area’s lady anglers get their turn in the spotlight this weekend with the return of the Poor Girl’s Open for the 22nd 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 few years, 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, a total of 96 boats and 436 lady anglers participated in the tournament and $89,770 in prize money was awarded to the winners in several categories. Just 15 boats fished on the tournament’s first day last Thursday, while 30 boats went out on Friday and 51 fished on Saturday.

In the Billfish Release Division, the crew on the “Tighten Up” took first with eight white marlin releases and was awarded a tournament high $31,640 in prize money. The crew on the “Fin-Ness” took second in the billfish release division with six white marlin releases and earned $18,984. The “Moore Bills” took third in the billfish release division with five white marlin releases and earned $12,656 in prize money.

In the Tuna Division, angler Nancy Julio on the “Rhonda’s Osprey” took first with a 71.6-pounder worth $7,170. In the Dolphin Division, angler Nancy Kohl on the “Reel Toy” took first with a 34.7-pounder worth $7,575. The Top Junior Angler Award went to Blaire Goodrich with three white marlin releases. The big winner, however, was the American Cancer Society, which was awarded a check for $65,000.