OCEAN CITY- The Mid-Atlantic Tournament wrapped up late last week with one boat taking first place in two major categories for the first time ever and collecting a record payout for the event.
The Mid-Atlantic concluded with a flourish last Friday after five days of fishing during which the leaderboard was erased and rewritten several times. The Mid-Atlantic is one of the late season highlights in the resort’s summer offshore fishing tournament series, perhaps second only to the White Marlin Open in terms of prestige and payouts.
While the tournament headquarters has always been the Canyon Club in Cape May, N.J., Sunset Marina was added as an official sister port about nine years ago, giving the event a decidedly Ocean City flair. A similar story played out last week with the winning fish in several categories weighed at Sunset Marina in West Ocean City by boats and anglers fishing out of Sunset Marina.
The highlight of the week was the big 680-pound blue marlin caught by angler Larry Hesse on the Goin’ In Deep. The 680-pound blue marlin barely edged out angler Art Kontos’ 677-pounder caught aboard the Let It Ride. For Hesse, the big blue was just part of the story for the week. Hesse also caught the heaviest tuna of the week, a 184-pounder, that also took first place in that category, marking the first time in the 26 year history of the Mid Atlantic that a single angler took first in two of the premiere divisions.
The first-place blue marlin earned the Goin’ In Deep crew $580,762 in prize money, while the first-place tuna earned $529,871. Combined, Hesse and the Goin’ In Deep earned over $1.1 million, which was a tournament record payout for a single boat.
In the white marlin category, it was angler Scott Poole on the Waste Knot taking first with a 75-pounder worth $769,509. Angler Ken Hager on the Taylor Jean took second with a 72-pounder worth $217,665, while angler Rich Van Camp on the Reel Rodeo took third with a 71-pounder worth $73,602.
Again, in the blue marlin category, it was Hesse and the Goin’ In Deep taking first with a 680-pounder worth $580,762, while Kontos and the Let It Ride took second with a 677-pounder worth $142,929. There were no other qualifying blue marlin weighed during the tournament.
In the tuna category, Hesse and the Goin’ In Deep took first with a 184-pounder worth $529,871. Denny Howell on the Big Dog took second with a 126-pounder worth $80,088. There was a tie for third in the tuna category with a pair of 72-pounders caught by Pat Healy on the Viking 62 and Mike Murray on The Caitlin. The heaviest wahoo was a 67-pounder caught by Michael Chase on the Contrail, while the heaviest dolphin was a 23-pounder caught by Phillip Blevins on the Speculator.