OCEAN CITY- Before the big boys hit the seas for the 43rd 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 8th 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. The Heels and Reels Tournament is largely a billfish release tournament with points awarded for releases of white and blue marlin, swordfish and sailfish. There are also heaviest fish divisions for tuna including yellowfin, longfin and big-eye along with dolphin. 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, in the Billfish Release Division, it was the crew on the Grande Pez taking first place with 550 total release points worth a total of $15,295 in prize money. The crew on the “Max Bet” was second with 400 release points and earned $3,967. The “Lights Out” was third with 300 release points and earned $2,678.
In the Dolphin Division, it was the crew on the “Miss Annie” taking first with a 20.2-pounder worth $7,065. The “Slaughterhouse” was second with a 20-pounder worth $1,674, while the “Buckshot” was third with a 15.4-pounder worth $1,116.
In the Tuna Division, the “Miss Annie” crew swept the top three spots with a 56-pounder, a 48-pounder and a 40-pounder. The “Miss Annie” crew won a tournament-high $16,920 in prize money when the tuna division sweep was added to the first place finish in the dolphin division. The “Miss Annie” also released a white marlin. The Junior Angler Award went to Emma Campbell on the “Reel Estate” with a white marlin release worth $500.