“Reel Joy” Takes Top Prize In Poor Girl’s Open

OCEAN CITY- The 22nd Annual Captain Steve Harman Poor Girl’s Open was once again a huge success with 136 boats and over 600 lady anglers competing for about $174,000 in total prize money in several categories, and, perhaps most importantly, thousands more raised for breast cancer awareness and research.

The tournament, which typically falls on the weekend after the White Marlin Open, was founded by the late Captain Steve Harman and his wife Pam over two decades ago to provide a ladies-only fishing event with the proceeds donated to a local charity. A decision was made several years back to made the American Cancer Society the beneficiary as a kick-off of sorts for a series of pink ribbon events held in and around the resort area each year. In the years since, the Poor Girl’s Open has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization and this year was no different. 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.

Last weekend, 136 boats participated in the Poor Girl’s Open, up from 96 in 2014. Similarly, 634 lady anglers competed in the tournament last weekend, which represented a significant increase from the 436 participants in 2014. A total of $174,250 in prize money was doled out to the winners in several categories. This year, the American Cancer Society received a check for $85,000 from the tournament, along with another $4,500 in proceeds from the 50-50 raffle.

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 were also added entry levels for tuna and dolphin with potential winning fish weighed each day of the tournament at host Bahia Marina.

With beautiful weather and calm seas, the number of boats competing was spread fairly evenly over the three days of the tournament. On Day One last Thursday, 30 boats went out and 59 boats fished on Friday. On the tournament’s last day on Saturday, 47 boats headed out for a chance at a big fish and a bigger prize.

When the dust settled, it was the crew on the “Reel Joy” taking first place in the Billfish Release Division with nine white marlin releases worth $89,425 in prize money. The crew on the “Billfisher” took second in the release division with eight white marlin releases and earned $23,655. The “Reel Toy” crew took third in the division with eight white marlin releases and earned $15,770.

In the Tuna Division, it was angler Nora Warren on the “Maverick” taking first with a 139.8-pounder worth $15,810. Judy Duffie on the “Billfisher” took first place in the Dolphin Division with a 28.6-pounder worth $9,870. Wendy Jones on the “Catch 22” took second in the division with a 22.5-pounder worth $5,022. The team on the “Haulin’ and Ballin’” took third in the Dolphin Division with a 21.8-pounder worth $3,348.

In the Wahoo Division, it was angler Jennifer Wojcik on the “Reel Passion” taking first place with a 42.3-pounder worth $7.170. Ashley Lavorno on the “Joint Venture” took second in the division with a 41-pounder worth $3,780. The top Junior Angler Award went to Isabell Marco with four white marlin releases.

The 2015 Poor Girl’s Open concluded with an awards banquet at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Saturday night during which the winners were presented with prize checks and various trophies.