OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Marlin Club’s 37th Annual Canyon Kick-off tournament got underway today with the first of three official fishing days.
The Canyon Kick-Off, held each year on or near the Fourth of July weekend, is the first major event of the season each year for the Ocean City Marlin Club and serves as a prelude to the more high-profile tournaments including the Ocean City Tuna Tournament next weekend, the Big Fish Classic later this month and, of course the White Marlin Open next month. Each year, dozens of boats and hundreds of anglers compete in the annual event.
With tuna practically jumping in the boat for most of the resort area’s sportfishing fleet for the last week or so, and billfish and dolphin turning up in good numbers offshore, there should be plenty of action in this year’s Canyon Kick-off. Cash prizes will also be awarded for first-, second-and third-place in the heaviest fish division. Points will accumulate for each fish brought to the scales including the heaviest tuna (minimum 30 pounds), the heaviest wahoo (minimum 20 pounds) and the heaviest dolphin (minimum 10 pounds).
In the points division, fish will be caught and released, while in the heaviest fish division, potential winners will be brought to the scales for weighing. The tournament got underway on Friday, the first official fishing day. The action will continue on Saturday and Sunday with weigh-ins each day at Sunset Marina.
The Canyon Kick-off is the first significant event for the Marlin Club each year and serves as a prelude to the more high-profile tournaments of the season including the Ocean City Tuna Tournament and the White Marlin Open in August.
Last year in the billfish release division, the crew on the Fish On took first place with 750 release points and took home a tournament-high $35,550. The Nontypical was second with 700 release points and earned $2,052. The Moore Bills was third with 650 release points and earned $4,446, while the Par Five finished fourth in the division and earned $2.052.
In the tuna division, the Tighten Up took first with a 110.8-pound bigeye worth $25,582, The Second Chance took second with a 109.8-pound bigeye worth $3739, while the Stalker as third with an 83-pound yellowfin worth $2,493. There were no bluefin tuna weighed during the tournament.
In the dolphin division, it was the Marlin Gale taking first place with a 37.2-pounder worth $14,332. The Canyon Hunter was second with a 23.4-pounder worth $3,739 and the Last Call took third with a 22-pounder worth $2,493. The crew on the Hall Pass took fourth in the dolphin division, but earned $11,250 in prize money because of added entry levels.