OCEAN CITY- With $3.5 million-plus on the line, the 28th Mid-Atlantic Tournament was still very much wide open after the first two days this week, but there has been no shortage of fish weighed at host ports in Ocean City and Cape May.
Now in its 28th year, the Mid-Atlantic continues to be one of the top sport fishing events in the region with over $3.5 million in prize money expected to be doled out again this year. Tournament headquarters has always been the Canyon Club in Cape May, and that hasn’t changed, but the increased number of boats from the resort area has given the event a decidedly Ocean City flair.
Over a decade ago, Mid-Atlantic organizers opened up Ocean City as a second port from which to fish and the change was met with great enthusiasm. For the first two years, however, any Ocean City boat that caught a qualifying fish had to transport it to the official scales in Cape May. Nine years ago, however, Sunset Marina in West Ocean City was added as an official sister port for the event and local anglers participating in the Mid-Atlantic began to weigh potentially-winning in at their homeport.
The tournament got underway on Monday, the first of five official fishing days. Captains and teams of anglers must choose to fish three of the five days, and with the billfish bite in the canyons off the coast remaining red-hot, most of the registered 156 boats went out on Monday and Tuesday.
On Monday, 138 of the registered boats fished including 78 from Ocean City and 60 from Cape May. After day one, the Sea Mistress held the top spot on the white marlin category with a 67-pounder. No other qualifying white marlin were weighed at either port, nor were any blue marlin weighed. However, the leaderboard in the other categories including tuna, dolphin and wahoo began to fill out.
On Tuesday, 148 of the registered 156 boats went out and the leaderboard really started to fill in. A 68-pound white marlin weighed by the Judge took over first place, dropping the Sea Mistress to second with its 67-pounder. The Auspicious weighed a 65-pound white on Tuesday to settle into third place. No qualifying blue marlin were on the board after fishing ended on Tuesday.
In the tuna division, it was the Dem Boys holding onto first place with a 96-pounder, followed by the Sushi in second with an 80-pounder and the Blue Runner in third with a 79-pounder. In the dolphin division, the Reel Estate and the Top Dog were tied at the top with a pair of 33-pounders, while the Canyon Lady and the Big Deal were tied for second with a pair of 27-pounders.
The Chain Reaction sat atop the leaderboard in the wahoo division after two days with a 35-pounder. The Special Situation was in second with a 29-pounder and the My Time was in third with a 28-pounder headed into midweek. In the billfish points division, the Auspicious was in first with 815 points, followed by the Uno Mas with 750 points. Four boats were tied for third with 675 points including the Boy’s Toy, the Catch 23, the Top Dog and the Amarula Sun.