OCEAN CITY — Amid one of the hottest tuna bites in recent memory, the first white marlin of the season was caught Wednesday morning adding a missing piece to the start of the summer offshore season.
Captain Steve Moore and the crew on the Stalker reported catching the milestone first white marlin of the season off Ocean City around 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The first white marlin of the season this year came three days earlier than the milestone last year. The Stalker is a 53-foot boat based out of the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City.
With the first white marlin of the season, the Stalker crew will earn the Town of Ocean City’s $5,000 prize for the annual milestone. In addition, because the Stalker is a member boat of the Ocean City Marlin Club, the crew will earn the club’s $5,000 prize. Finally, the Stalker will earn the $5,000 prize package created last year by a coalition of local businesses under the guise of Fishermen United for Ocean City, bringing the total combined prize for the first white to around $15,000.
Additionally, the Stalker will earn bragging rights around the marinas and sportfishing community. While the Stalker’s first white marlin of the season is certainly a milestone, there is nothing remarkable about the date of the catch.
Historically, the first white marlin of the season has been caught in a window of around five or six days in mid- to late June. The earliest ever was May 25 two years ago. The latest ever, since records have been kept for 70-plus years since the first white marlin ever was caught off the Ocean City coast in 1936 was July 20.
Last year, the first white marlin of the season was caught by an Ocean City Marlin Club member on June 16, but because the boat hailed from Indian River Inlet in Delaware, it wasn’t eligible for the town’s $5,000 prize. The very next day, another white marlin was caught by a boat out of Sunset Marina and garnered the town’s $5,000 prize along with the Fishermen United of Ocean City prize.