City Manager Doug Miller estimated last week the compliance rate of people wearing masks on the Boardwalk to be about 70%. It’s a difficult estimation to make because it’s truly a day-to-day matter and depends on the time of day. After about a dozen visits to the Boardwalk since the mandate was ordered, I would say it’s considerably lower during the day than at night. A quick visit to Dolle’s for a gift last Friday afternoon revealed about 25% of the 50 folks I surveyed on the Boardwalk were sporting masks. However, a few nights later on the Boardwalk, I would agree with Miller’s account of 70% compliance of the hundreds I came across. This is one of those difficult judgment calls since enforcement is light. I presume if we asked 10 people their observation of the compliance rate on the Boardwalk the average would end up close to Miller’s observation of 70%.
Quite a fishing story took place Tuesday during the MidAtlantic Tournament. The short story is a 791-pound blue marlin caught about the Shark Byte was weighed in during the second day of the tournament but due to an IGFA rule it was disqualified due to, “mutilation to the fish, prior to landing or boating the catch, caused by sharks, other fish, mammals or propellers that remove or penetrate the flesh.”
The longer story involves the beast being hooked on an 80-pound class outfit. Captain Rich Barrett said, “We marked a fish on the machine, it was a decent mark.” Therefore, the crew teased the blue marlin into their trolling pattern. Angler Peter Cherasia of Rumson, N.J. said, “She came up on the left teaser and I grabbed a 50 (pound class outfit) and dropped the bait back to her. Once we got a look at her I grabbed the 80 (pound class outfit) and dropped it back. She took three swipes at the bait, her massive bill swatted it the first two times and on the third swipe she swallowed it.” He continued, “The first time we had her to the boat Jake (Flynn) grabbed the leader and put about 50% pressure on her but could hold her and she took about 150-200 yards of line off. On the second try he put about 75% resistance but still couldn’t get her close and she took about 100 yards out on us. On the third try we could see she was getting tired and Jake (Flynn) got a good wrap on her and guided her across the transom. Blaine (Champlain) sunk the gaff in her but the head of the flyer didn’t come out and he was in a bad spot on the coverboard and got pulled over the side.” With the crew members rushing to get Champlain back in the boat and the blue marlin gaffed at the transom, a large shark – believed to be either a mako or tiger – appeared and attacked the marlin.
According to a presser from the tournament, “After much discussion it was determined that the shark attacked the marlin while it was in the water alongside the Shark Byte prior to being boated, a disqualifying situation. Needless to say, the crew was disappointed but understood the ruling and accepted it as such, though Cherasia notes with today’s technology that’s available some adjustment needs to be made to the IGFA rulebook. He said, ‘Technology has changed to the point that if a fish is under control and video evidence supports the catch, it should count when a situation such as this occurs,’ he noted, adding a shark attack during the course of the fight is another story.’”
In the end the shark bite cost the crew a huge payday. After a long day of fishing, it would be understandable for the crew to be upset over the decision. That was not the case, according to Tournament President Rick Weber, who said, “… the Shark Byte team was polite and professional through the entire process. That shark may have cost them their prize, but the story and memories they’ll have forever.”
Yes the name of the boat was the Shark Byte.
There were a couple new social media rants recently from Ocean City Councilman Mark Paddack. I continue to find his tone and approach unprofessional for an elected official. When I was recently critical of his abusive approach in this column, Paddack made it clear he was gagged from public discourse as a city cop and will not hide his feelings on matters on social media. Most of his comments are crude and partisan in nature. An extreme conservative, Paddack often ridicules those on the opposite end of the political spectrum, including lashing out at the president of the town’s advertising agency in a comment on a George Floyd past, saying, “You F##$@@ liberals are in denial.”
In response to a seemingly innocuous post on a community page this week asking who was running for Ocean City mayor, Paddack took a shot at one of his council colleagues, Matt James, who may be considering running for mayor this fall. Paddack wrote, “They will not announce until September, it’s political. After the BS of summer COVID19 Shamdemic. I know Rick has been there for decades after the City Council. I am here to say the man eats, breaths, and supports OC. No other person other me an independent does what Rick does for this Town. Rick and I have had differences but in the end for 30k a year as Mayor, no one will do what Rick does unless a ‘daddy’ wants to pay it. End of story. Mayor Rick Meehan is the man for the job as Mayor. Not these wisher washy, drag decisions out people who want to continue to be career politicians. Wait til the last minute, try to make a name for themselves when never working a government job.”