OCEAN CITY- The 41st Annual Charles Kratz and Scott Smith Challenge Cup is underway, pitting boats and teams of anglers from the Ocean City Marlin Club against their rivals from Cape May.
The Challenge Cup, which pits teams of boats from the Ocean City Marlin Club against teams of boats from the Cape May Marlin and Tuna Club, officially began in 1978 as a formal competition between the friendly rivals which share the same canyons off the coast. The two rival clubs meet each September to compete for the Challenge Cup and bragging rights for the next year.
The tournament used to alternate between Cape May and Ocean City, but has been a strictly Ocean City event the last several years because of the nightlife and other amenities the resort offers. If ever one team wins three Challenge Cup tournaments in a row, the trophy is retired and turned over to the winning club, while the losing club purchases a new trophy. The contest has been fairly close over the years with each team retiring trophies, but Ocean City has had the upper hand in recent years.
Ocean City won the Challenge Cup last year for the second year in a row and will have the opportunity to win for a third time this weekend. If Ocean City prevails, the Challenge Cup will be retired. The tournament got started with the first of three fishing days on Thursday. The competing boats will choose to fish two of the three fishing days, next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.