Much of the story of the 47th White Marlin Open will be written this weekend, as hundreds of boats will fish each of the final three days. On Thursday, 360 boats fished following lay days for most thus far. The remaining three days will most likely shake up the leaderboard as offshore conditions look favorable throughout the weekend.
Though it looked bleak earlier this year, the economic crisis caused by the health pandemic seems to have spared recreational fishing tournaments. It’s clear the finances of these participants have not been impacted to the degree feared initially. The HUK Big Fish Classic set a participation and prize money record last month. The White Marlin Open also set a new record in prize money with $6.7 million to be distributed to lucky anglers and early broke a turnout record with 433 boats committing.
One boat captain summed up the situation for me this week. Known for being blunt types, he said, “the rich are always looking to get richer.” It was an interesting take.
Local authority and flexibility has been a priority of Gov. Larry Hogan’s as it comes to school reopening plans. He showed that commitment this week when he slammed the top health officer in Montgomery County for not allowing private schools in that jurisdiction to open until Oct. 1 at the earliest.
Hogan introduced an executive order barring health officers from mandating private and parochial school closures. Unlike public schools, independent schools have smaller enrollments and have the ability to limit class sizes and implement social distancing. It’s nice to see Hogan gets that. It’s unfair for the same set of rules to govern the different schools.
“I have issued an amended emergency order ensuring that local schools and school systems retain the primary authority to determine when to safely reopen their facilities,” Hogan said in a tweet Monday. “To be clear, Maryland’s recovery continues to be based on a flexible, community-based approach that follows science, not politics. As long as schools develop safe and detailed plans that follow CDC and state guidelines, they should be empowered to do what’s best for their community.”
The governor was right to allow these private schools to make their own decisions so long as their reopening plans meet all the stated health criteria and protocols.
Tuesday got off to a memorable start.
Around 9 a.m. when it looked like most of the heavy rain had passed, I headed to the Inlet for some storm coverage. I love going out in the elements to cover storms when it’s safe to do so. By and large, there was nothing terribly memorable about Isaias. It was windy with significant gusts, some downed trees, minor flooding in typical areas and property destruction of varying degrees including roof and sign damage. As far as storms go for Ocean City, it was forgettable.
After an hour of getting pounded with sand Tuesday morning, I ventured back to my truck to head to the office. I quickly realized my keys that were attached by a carabiner to a belt loop on my jeans had torn off at some point. Before I called my wife for a rescue, I looked all around the pier as well as on the beach below and even in the shallow areas of the ocean below. I also searched the fence on both sides and examined every single lock to ensure the keys were not there.
No luck, so I called my wife who asked me logically about the spare, which is still missing from our move earlier this year. I called a locksmith who came to me in the Inlet parking lot. Although he was able to unlock the vehicle, he was unable the program the key FOB, but he did not charge me a penny and I was grateful for that. With my phone now dead from taking videos and pictures of the storm, my wife called AAA while I waited in the truck pondering the wonders of 2020 while the emergency beeping continued to blare in my truck. I was getting used to it by now as it was going on two hours or so of the constant sound. At that point, I was grateful to be sitting in my hot truck fogging up the windows instead of in the wind and standing ocean water.
It would be 70 minutes for AAA and because of COVID I would not be able to ride with them. My wife was on her way to rescue me when a stranger – later I would learn his name was Jason Daly – approached me and asked if I lost my keys. He said he saw them and walked me to the spot. There they were connected to the chain link fence with hundreds of other locks. I had looked in this very spot hours before multiples times.
Good Samaritan Jason and I joked how the wind must have ripped my carabiner off my belt loop and miraculously connected to the chain link fence. I was thinking it was like the “magic loogie” from the Seinfeld episode. It’s more likely and more reasonable that my keys got ripped off and connected somehow to the fence on the pier while I was leaning over the railing taking pictures and videos. Amid the winds and live videos, I must not have realized. Another Good Samaritan could have also found them on the pier nearby at some point and connected them to the fence assuming someone would return looking for them. It will remain a mystery but at least it was one with a happy ending.
In 2020, we have to smell the roses when we can. I am grateful for Jason and the unnamed helpers who helped out that memorable morning.