OCEAN CITY- For the second straight year, the Ocean City Marlin Club captured the Charles Kratz and Scott Smith Challenge Cup, beating old rival Cape May in the annual billfish release tournament.
The 39th Charles Kratz and Scott Smith Challenge Cup, pitting boats and teams of anglers from the Ocean City Marlin Club and Cape May Marlin and Tuna Club against each other, was held last weekend with bragging rights for the next year on the line. The Challenge Cup officially began in 1979 as a formal competition between the friendly rivals which share the same canyons off the coast. The two rival clubs meet each September to compete for the Challenge Cup and bragging rights for the next year. The tournament used to alternate between Cape May and Ocean City, but has been a strictly Ocean City event the last several years because of the nightlife and other amenities the resort offers.
If ever one team wins three Challenge Cup tournaments in a row, the trophy is retired and turned over to the winning club, while the losing club purchases a new trophy. The contest has been fairly close over the years with each team retiring trophies, but Cape May had the upper hand in recent years before Ocean City began turning the tide.
Ocean City won the Challenge Cup last year in a tournament shortened to one day because of an offshore storm. The Ocean City Marlin Club won again last weekend, defeating Cape May with 4,950 total release points compared to 2,850 release points for the New Jersey club.
The Reel Joy led the way for Ocean City with 525 release points including five white marlin releases and one blue marlin release. The crew on the Reel Chaos contributed 450 points for the Ocean City Marlin Club, while the Billfisher and Fishbone each added 375. The Buckshot and the No Quarter each contributed 300 release points for the Ocean City Marlin Club.