WMO Announces New Wrinkles For 2018

OCEAN CITY- While this week’s winter storm made the White Marlin Open seem like eons away, tournament officials this week announced some changes for the 2018 event including a new winner-take-all tuna division.

Heading into its 45th year, the White Marlin Open announced plans for the 2018 event. The WMO will be held on August 6-10 this year at Harbour Island at 14th Street and tournament officials announced a few tweaks this year that could push the total prize money of the $5 million mark for the winners in several categories.

“We’re excited to make our 45th year one for the record books,” said WMO Tournament Director Madelyne Rowan this week. “With more prize money than ever before, new fishing categories and options for both large and small vessels, we’re expecting this year’s payout to be our biggest ever.”

One of the changes announced this week by WMO officials is an added entry level for tuna. In recent years, the tuna division has produced some of the most drama and the largest payouts and the tournament this year will add a $3,000 winner-take-all entry level.

“Our tuna division has grown consistently every year with last year’s prize totaling just under $1 million,” said WMO founder Jim Motsko this week. “This year, the new category will be available for a $3,000 fee with the winner taking all. This basically sets up the tournament to have a $1 million tuna winner.”

A common misconception is the WMO is largely for the biggest boats with the most experienced anglers and crews and the deepest pockets, but WMO officials this week sent out an appeal to novices and smaller boats to join the fun.

“Many people believe you need to be an experienced offshore angler with a large boat and deep pockets to participate in and win in the White Marlin Open, but that’s simply not the case,” said Motsko. “Many of our participants have little or no experience. They also fish in groups where each person contributes to the entry fee and takes turns fishing each day. Anyone can win.”

On top of a group entry, participating boats can depart from anywhere within the 100-nautical mile limit fishing boundary. As a result, smaller boats do not have to launch from the Ocean City Inlet in order to participate, and can depart from as north as Barnegat, N.J. and Cape May Inlet all the way south to Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach at the Virginia Beach Fishing Center. Additionally, smaller boats may compete against the whole fleet or enter categories limited to boats under 40 feet.

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.