OCEAN CITY- It all came down to the very last day for the Ocean City Marlin Club’s “top gun” award for the member boat with the most billfish releases with the Buckshot and Captain Gary Stamm holding off a late charge by the No Quarter by just three releases.
Throughout the summer season, the Ocean City Marlin Club collects catch and release reports and records data for the annual seasonal awards. The seasonal awards are doled out the winners in several categories, but the most prestigious is the Top Gun Award for the member boat with the most billfish releases during the season.
During the season, Captain Gary Stamm and the crew on the Buckshot and Captain Kyle Peet and the crew on the No Quarter slowly separated themselves from the rest of the pack, essentially making it a two-horse race down the final stretch of the summer season. With a red-hot white marlin bite through most of September and early October, the release totals for the Buckshot and the No Quarter changed almost daily with neither boat gaining much separation from the other.
Heading into last weekend, the Buckshot held a narrow 147 to 144 lead, but there were still a few productive days remaining before the club’s official season closed on Sunday. The top gun competition went down to the last day with the Buckshot and No Quarter reporting releases and near misses throughout the day on Sunday.
When the dust settled after the whirlwind weekend, it was the Buckshot and Stamm and his crew taking first place and the top gun award with 152 releases. Peet and the No Quarter finished a close second with 149 releases, but there were no winners and losers in the friendly competition for bragging rights.
Winning the Top Gun award capped off a remarkable season for Stamm and the Buckshot crew. The Buckshot took first place in the club’s annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament in September. In August, the Buckshot took first place in the tuna division of the White Marlin Open with a 75-pounder worth over $900,000.