Expanded Big Fish Classic Underway

OCEAN CITY- The 4th Annual Huk Big Fish Classic got underway today with the first of three 32-hour fishing segments in search of the largest fish of any species after another segment was added this week because of concerns of inclement weather.

The Big Fish Classic is going on all weekend on the pier at Talbot Street, which is essentially the epicenter for Ocean City’s rich fishing history. In the nascent days of the town’s fishing history, historic Talbot Street was always where the action was taking place with offshore boats unloading epic catches of billfish and tuna on the docks. In the decades since, marinas have sprouted up all over the resort area and in West Ocean City, but Talbot Street is where it all began.

In that spirit, the Big Fish Classic is a two-day, 32-hour tournament where the largest fish caught of any species will be rewarded. Boats and teams of anglers will decide to fish in one of two 32-hour slots, either Friday and Saturday, or Saturday and Sunday. Because of a less than stellar forecast, a third 32-hour window was added for Sunday-Monday this week by tournament organizers. There are several categories for which anglers and boats will be rewarded, but the essence of the event is bringing the biggest fish to the historic Talbot Street docks.

The event got started on Thursday with late registration, a captain’s meeting and kickoff party at host M.R. Ducks. Participating boats can depart from any port from New Jersey to Virginia, but qualifying fish have to be weighed at Talbot Street. The boats must fish within 100 nautical miles of Ocean City, however. The scale at Talbot Street is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday and Monday. Each day will feature a festival of big fish, live music, food and drink in and around the Talbot Street Pier at M.R. Ducks and the historic Angler restaurant. The Angler will host the awards banquet on Sunday.

Last year, it was the crew on the “Marli” taking the 3rd Annual Big Fish Classic’s biggest prize with a 407-pound blue marlin that ended up being worth $105,270 with added entry levels. The “Foolish Pleasures” crew finished second in the single heaviest fish category with a 193-pound mako worth $24,470.

The “Fish Whistle” brought in the third heaviest single fish, a 190-pound big-eye tuna. The “Fish Whistle” also brought in the heaviest stringer of tuna and earned $71,169. The “Katherine Anne” practically swept the white marlin category with a 78.5-pound white for first place. The “Katherine Anne” also released 12 white marlin and earned a total of $68,580 in prize money.

There was also significant prize money awarded in several other categories. The “Burn N Bills” brought in two yellowfin tuna weighing 62.5 pounds and 51.5 pounds and earned $20,250 in that category. The “MJs Inspiration” brought in a 121-pound big-eye tuna worth $13,275, while the “Miss Annie” weighed a 166.5-pound big-eye worth $9,180.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.