Poor Girls Open Returns For 26th Year

OCEAN CITY- After the drama of the high dollar, high profile White Marlin Open subsides, the resort area’s lady anglers get their turn in the spotlight next weekend with the return of the Poor Girl’s Open for the 24th year.

The Poor Girl’s Open, which typically falls on the weekend after the White Marlin Open, was founded in 1994 by the late Captain Steve Harman and his wife Pam to provide a ladies-only fishing event with the proceeds donated to a local charity. In recent years, the American Cancer Society has been the recipient of choice in conjunction with other “pink ribbon” events held in and around the resort all year long.

In the last few years, the Poor Girl’s Open has raised well over $100,000 for the American Cancer Society’s breast cancer research and awareness programs. In addition to the fishing, the event includes silent auctions, 50-50 raffles, T-shirt sales and other events, all at tournament headquarters at Bahia Marina in Ocean City.

Despite its charitable overtones, the tournament is all about the fishing and the dozens of boats and hundreds of competitors take it very seriously. The tournament is a catch-and-release event with points awarded for billfish releases. There are also added entry levels for tuna and dolphin with potential winning fish weighed each day of the tournament at host Bahia Marina. Teams of lady anglers must choose to fish one of the three officials fishing days, next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Last year, 149 boats and 725 lady anglers competed in the Poor Girl’s Open last weekend and nearly $230,000 in prize money was doled out to the winners in several categories. At the awards ceremony following the tournament, host Bahia Marina and Poor Girl’s Open staffers presented a check for $130,000 to the American Cancer Society.

In the signature billfish release division, the crew on the Absolut Pleasure took first place with 12 white marlin releases and earned $120,965 in prize money. The crew on the Reel Chaos took second with eight white marlin releases and earned $29,379 in prize money. The Pumpin’ Hard crew took third place with seven white marlin releases and earned $19,586. The Bar South crew also had seven white marlin releases and led heading into the last day, but the Pumpin’ Hard took third place on the time-of-catch tiebreaker.

In the tuna division, angler Nancy Kohl on the A Salt Weapon III took first place with a 112-pounder worth $14,797. Heather Bean on the Whiskey Kilo took second in the tuna division with a 73-pounder worth $7,975, while Megan McDonald on the Spring Mix II took third with a 66-pounder worth $4,869.

In the dolphin division, it was angler Brittany Grove on the Bent Tent taking first place with a 36-pounder worth $15,270. Angler Lindsay Stanton on the Buckshot took second with a 32-pounder worth $8,262. Tasha Davis-Lockhart on the Bent Tent took third in the dolphin division with a 20-pounder worth $5,508.

First place in the wahoo division went to angler Lucy Muhlenbruck on the Blood Money with a 30-pounder worth $1,500. The Top Junior Angler award went to Rilyn Romero, who released three white marlin and earned $1,000 in prize money. The total estimated prize money doled out to the winners in the 2018 Poor Girl’s Open was $229,565.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.