OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Marlin Club will face off against Old rival Cape May next week in the 40th Annual Charles Kratz and Scott Smith Challenge Cup, pitting boats and teams of anglers against each other with bragging rights and the handsome trophy on the line.
The Challenge Cup, which pits teams of boats from the Ocean City Marlin Club against teams of boats from the Cape May Marlin and Tuna Club, officially began in 1978 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 Ocean City has had the upper hand in recent years.
Ocean City won the Challenge Cup last year for the second year in a row and will have the opportunity to win for a third time next week. If Ocean City prevails, the Challenge Cup will be retired. Last year, the tournament was reduced to a one-day event with Ocean City defeating Cape May with 4,950 total release points compared to 2,850 total 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.
The tournament gets started next Wednesday with a captains’ meeting and registration, with the first of three fishing days set for next Thursday. The competing boats will choose to fish two of the three fishing days, next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.