OCEAN CITY- The 6th Annual Ocean City Marlin Club Rockfish Tournament got underway today with the first official fishing day of the nine-day event.
The Marlin Club’s 6th annual rockfish tournament will run from Friday to December 16. Boats and teams of anglers will decide to fish five of the nine days. As the name of the tournament implies, rockfish, or striped bass, will be the primary species targeted along with red drum and blue fish.
The top three heaviest fish in each category will win awards and federal minimum size requirements apply for each species. A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to the Jimmy Fund. No rockfish may be caught outside the three-mile line demarking federal waters, but a new twist added last year will allow anglers to move up and down the coast to find the stripers. For the first time last year, there was no northern boundary and no southern boundary, meaning a participating boat could ostensibly make a run up to Cape May, for example, as long as the three-mile federal waters line was observed.
Event organizers also raised the stakes last year. The top prize had been $1,000, but it was doubled last year to a guaranteed $2,000. There will also be a gift basket valued at $500, including fishing gear and other merchandize from the tournament’s sponsors, given to the winner in the highest stringer weight division. The event will go on for nine days ending next Saturday.
Last year, the crew on the Nontypical jumped into the lead with a 36.8-pound rockfish and the whopper held on to take first place in the tournament. The Nontypical took home over $7,400 in prize money for the first-place rockfish. The crew on the Hellbent took second- and third-place in the tournament with a 32.3-pounder and a 31.2-pounder and earned $2,835 in combined prize money. Proceeds from the event went to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund.