OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Marlin Club’s 9th Annual Heels and Reels Tournament last weekend was a big success with plenty of big fish in several categories along with a lot of billfish releases.
Just before the 44th annual White Marlin Open got underway this week, the Ocean City Marlin Club last week hosted its 9th Annual Heels and Reels Tournament. 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.
This year, a total of 50 boats and hundreds of lady anglers participated in the annual Heels and Reels event and there was no shortage of action. The tournament got started last Friday with the first of three official fishing days. Essentially, it’s a boat tournament, meaning awards were distributed to the top boat teams and not individuals.
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.
In the billfish release division, it was the crew on the Haulin n’ Ballin taking first place with 300 release points worth a tournament-high $18,045. The Brenda Lou also scored 300 release points, but its release was later than the Haulin n’ Ballin’s release so it finished in second and earned $4,347. The Espadon took third in the billfish release division and earned $2,898.
In the dolphin division, it was the Last Call taking first with a 16.2 pounder worth $9,045. The G-Force was second with a 15-pounder worth $2,592, while the Lights Out was third with a 14.6-pounder worth $1,728.
In the tuna division, it was the Brenda Lou taking first with a 62.2-pound yellowfin worth $4,320. The Haulin n’ Ballin took second with a 59.2-pounder, but earned $9,045 because of added entry levels. The Haulin n’ Balling also took third in the tuna division with a 56.8-pounder caught by junior angler Chloe Coier.
The junior angler award went to Kelsey Deppe for her first white marlin released while fishing aboard the Kingfisher. Deppe, who honored the tradition of jumping into the water for her first white marlin was awarded $500 in prize money. The team spirit award went to the Haulin n’ Ballin and was awarded a prize package donated by Atlantic Tackle.