OCEAN CITY- The 31st annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament is underway with dozens of boats and hundreds of anglers searching the canyons off the coast of the resort in search of the burly behemoths.
The tuna bite has been rock solid thus far this summer with yellowfins and blue fins stacked up like cord wood around most of the resort’s marinas each afternoon, setting up what should be a memorable 2018 Ocean City Tuna Tournament. The event got started Thursday with a captain’s meeting and late registration at the host Ocean City Fishing Center, but the real action gets underway today with the first of three official fishing days.
The annual Ocean City Tuna Tournament is one of the highlights of the summer offshore tournament seasons each year, second only perhaps to the White Marlin Open in terms of prize money awarded and anglers participating. Thousands of spectators will cram into the Ocean City Fishing Center over the course of the four-day event, which has become a celebration of fishing, food, drinks, live entertainment and, of course, the daily weigh-ins at the scale. Weigh-ins will be held Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Fishing Center and Sunset Marina, and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday at the Fishing Center only.
From modest beginnings in 1988 when just 38 boats competed for $9,000 in prize money, the tuna tournament has grown by leaps and bounds over the last two decades plus. Last year, 88 boats and hundreds of anglers competed for over $788,000 in several categories.
Last year in the signature top heaviest tuna division, it was the Absolut Pleasure taking first place with a 115-pounder worth $309,130. The No Slack was second with a 109-pounder worth $35,813. The Wayne’s World was third with a 106-pound tuna worth $27,588.
In the heaviest stringer division, it was the Sushi taking first with a combined 407 pounds worth $200,013. The Goin In Deep was second with 364 total pounds worth $48,738. The Stalker was third with 306 total pounds worth $32,275.
In the heaviest dolphin division, it was the Primary Search taking first place with a 24-pounder worth $20,320. The Fish Whistle was second with a 22-pounder worth $2,300. The heaviest wahoo division went to the Legasea with a 55-pounder worth $9,990.
The top lady angler award went to Glenda Cahall on the No Slack with a 109-pound tuna worth $1,500. Annie Roe on the Wayne’s World was second with a 106-pounder worth $1,000 and J.L. Cropper on the Myra H.T. was third with a 99-pounder worth $500. The top junior angler award went to Annie Roe on the Wayne’s World. Finishing in second was Charlie Coates on the Reel Intents, while Walter Jordan on the Let It Ride was third.