OCEAN CITY- The 23rd Annual Mako Mania shark tournament got underway today with dozens of boats and teams of anglers participating in the annual event that serves as a kickoff of sorts for the summer offshore fishing tournament season.
Curiosity seekers will cram into Bahia Marina all weekend for a chance to see a potential winning shark hoisted at the scale in what has become a festival of sorts celebrating the arrival of another summer offshore fishing season. Makos are the featured species in the tournament although there are also divisions for threshers and bluefish.
Like most tournaments in the area, conservation of the various species is paramount and to that end, an award and a check for $1,000 is given out for the most shark releases called the W. W. Harman Award.
The tournament got underway yesterday with registration and a captain’s meeting, but the action gets underway offshore today, the first of three fishing days. Weigh-ins are held each of the next three days beginning around 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. at host Bahia Marina.
A total of 37 boats and 176 anglers competed in the 2018 version of the Mako Mania and the estimated total prize money doled out after the event came in at $87,590.
The big story last year was a massive thresher weighed at the scale by the crew on the Fishful Thinking. The thresher, which was practically the length of the boat and had to be hauled in alongside the SeaMent weight out at 644 pounds, which would qualify as the new Maryland state record for the species.
In the mako release division, the SeaMent also took first place with six releases and earned $17,700. The Portabella was second with three releases and earned $3,690. The Absolut Pleasure was third with two releases and earned $8,667. The Siren was third fourth with two releases and earned $3,690 and the Nontypical was fifth with one release and earned $684.
The SeaMent was second in the thresher division with a 355-pounder and earned an additional $10,035. Third place in the thresher division went to Fishful Thinking with a 183-pounder worth $1890. The Teaser swept the bluefish division with two fish totaling over $5,000 in prize money. The W.W. Harmon Award for most mako released went to the SeaMent.