OCEAN CITY- The 20th annual Mako Mania Tournament last weekend was a huge success with plenty of sharks caught and released and a record payout for the winners in several categories.
With sharks showing up in good numbers in recent weeks, the early offshore fishing season heated up just in time for the annual Mako Mania tournament hosted last weekend by Bahia Marina. Sharks of all sizes and species are typically the first game fish to arrive off the coast of Ocean City and this year has been no different.
Curiosity seekers crammed into Bahia Marina all weekend for a chance to see a potential winning shark hoisted at the scale and they weren’t disappointed. Makos are the featured species in the tournament although there were other divisions for threshers and bluefish. Like most tournaments in the area, conservation of the various species is paramount and to that end, an award and a check for $1,000 is given out for the most shark releases called the W. W. Harman Award.
In the signature Mako Division, angler Rich Galante on the “Jade II” weighed a 220.8-pounder that took the top prize and earned a tournament-high $52,340 in prize money. Dakota Bitner on the “Reel Nauti” took second with a 199.2-pounder worth $4,350, while Bill Brown, also on the “Reel Nauti” took third with a 182.5-pounder worth $2,990.
Angler Dave Schultz on the “Outnumbered” took fourth in the Mako Division with a 176.7-pounder worth $9,774 because of added entry levels. Angler Jamie Romero on the “Absolute Pleasure” took fifth with a 157-pounder worth $6,516.
The Thresher Division produced much of the drama in the 2016 Mako Mania tournament. Angler Jeff Green on the “Stripteaser” took first place with a 455-pounder worth $10,060. Angler Mike Moss on the “Captain Ike II” took second with a 407.8-pounder worth $4,536, while Kirk Thompson on the “Teaser” took third with a 318-pounder worth $3,024.
Bo Rites on the “Talk N Trash” took first in the Bluefish Division with a 12.2-pounder worth $6,031, while Sonny Snodgrass on the “M Keli Jean” took second with a 10-pounder worth $2,709. The W.W. Harman Award went to the crew on the “Marli” with six mako releases.