Big Blue Marlin Highlights White Marlin Open’s First Day

Big Blue Marlin Highlights White Marlin Open’s First Day
1 blue marlin no tail

OCEAN CITY — The highlight of the first day of the 2016 White Marlin Open — the 43rd edition in Ocean City — was the 790-pound blue marlin brought to the scales at Harbour Island Marina after 9 last night.
While the fishing was robust yesterday offshore, the 283 of the 329 registered boats did not bring one qualifying white marlin to the docks. Several white marlin were weighed but fell short of the minimum weight and were subsequently donated to the Maryland Food Bank.
Numerous tuna were weighed in on the first day, but none are expected to stay in the money by week’s end. As of today, which is expected to be a heavy fishing day as well, the Fish Whistle with angler Pat Horning leads the tuna division with a 71.5-pounder worth $70,000, followed by angler John Hoffman and the Reel Direct with a 67-pound tuna worth $320,000. Also in the money are Jeremy Weiner on the No Service with a 63-pounder worth $1,000; the Fish Whistle and Stephen Schwing with a 62.5-pounder worth $9,000; and the Talkin Trash with Jimmy Jernigan’s 58.5-pound tuna worth $40,000.
Also on Monday the dolphin division was rounded out with the Delta Dawn, which features last year’s winning angler and captain, in first place with a 34.5-pound dolphin worth $17,000, followed by a James Forest’s 31-pounder caught on the Tireless worth $1,500 and the Magic Moment’s Greg Fahrman’s 25-pound beauty worth $1,000.
The drama of the first day came well after sunset with the lone qualifying billfish — a 790-pound blue marlin hooked by Jim Conway on the Get Reel. The fish is worth $150,000 as of Tuesday morning.
Due to the size of the fish and the small boat, the blue marlin was towed back to Ocean City. Drama surfaced, however, back at Harbour Marina when the fish was put on the dock without its tail. It measured 117 inches without its tail, according to live footage from the docks. Questions were raised as to whether the fish should be weighed and considered a qualifier. The debate was when the tail was lost and whether “mutilation” occurred and at what point.
According to IGFA rules, a fish should be disqualified if “Mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals, or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh. (Injuries caused by leader or line, scratches, old healed scars or regen- eration deformities are not considered to be disqualifying injuries.) Any mutilation on the fish must be shown in a photograph and fully explained in a separate report accompanying the record application.”
Once it was decided by tourney officials the blue marlin lost its tail after being landed, it was to be weighed. The question became how to do it, as most catches are weighed by the tail. Instead, tourney officials used a hoist to get the fish weighed before allowing the boat and crew to do the customary weigh scale photos.