OCEAN CITY- The continued red-hot billfish bite off the coast of Ocean City continued last weekend, making the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 60th Annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament one of the most memorable in recent years.
While it may lack the glamour and high payouts of the White Marlin Open, the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 60th Annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament trumps all others in terms of history and prestige. The tournament is the oldest among the tournaments held in and around the resort area each summer. The first was held in 1958 and the annual event has endured for six decades and several generations of local anglers.
The tournament got started last Thursday with registration and a captain’s meeting, while the action offshore got underway Friday, the first of three fishing days. As the name implies, the focus of the tournament is on white marlin, but unlike the other high dollar tournaments in recent weeks, there weren’t any billfish weighed at the scale.
The billfish portion of the tournament focuses on releases and it did not disappoint last weekend as the red-hot bite continued off the coast of Ocean City. The crew on the Buckshot with Captain Gary Stamm took first place in the billfish release division with 2,450 total points for 23 white marlin releases and one blue marlin release over two days of fishing worth $9,270. The Haulin’ and Ballin’ took second in the release division with 1,550 total points worth $2,322. The Reel Joy took third with 1,200 release points worth $1,548.
In addition to the billfish release division, there will also be separate meatfish divisions for tuna and dolphin. In the tuna division, the Pumpin Hard took first place with a 150-pound big-eye worth $9,720. In the dolphin division, the Grande Pez took first place with a 28-pounder worth $6,660. The Reel Joy was second with a 25-pounder worth $1,836, while the Burn’n Bills took third with a 20-pounder worth $1,224.