13th Heels And Reels In The Books

13th Heels And Reels In The Books
This happy crew on the Knot Again took first place in the billfish release division of the Heels and Reels Tournament last weekend and earned $32,085 in prize money. Photo by Amanda Shick

OCEAN CITY- The Ocean City Marlin Club’s 13th annual Heels and Reels Tournament last weekend was a big success with plenty of billfish released along with big fish weighed in several categories.

Just before the 48th annual White Marlin Open got underway this week, the Ocean City Marlin Club last weekend hosted its 13th annual Heels and Reels tournament. The Heels and Reels Tournament is the club’s only ladies-only event in its summer-long tournament series and a portion of the proceeds went to the Bertha Holloway Auxiliary Scholarship Fund.

Hundreds of lady anglers participated in the annual Heels and Reels event and there was no shortage of action as they competed for over tens of thousands of dollars in prize money. The tournament got started last Friday with the first of two official fishing days. Essentially, it’s a boat tournament, meaning awards were distributed to the top boat teams and not individuals.

According to tournament rules, anyone may hook the fish, but it must be immediately handed off to a lady angler on board. The Heels and Reels Tournament is largely a billfish release tournament with points awarded for releases of white and blue marlin, swordfish and sailfish. There are also heaviest fish divisions for tuna including yellowfin, longfin and big-eye along with dolphin.

In the signature billfish release division, the crew on the Knot Again earned 400 points and took the tournament’s top prize of $32,085 by virtue of catching and releasing a billfish earliest. The crew on the Reel Chaos also earned 400 release points and earned $6,831 in prize money. The Kilo Charlie took third with 350 release points and earned $4,554 in prize money.

In the tuna division, it was the Southern C’s taking first with a 107.8-pounder worth $19,237. The Point Runner crew took second and third in the tuna division. The 107.4-pound second-place tuna was worth $4,117, while the third-place 102.6-pounder was worth $2,745.

There was a first-place tie in the dolphin division with a pair of 17.6-pounders caught by the Playmate and the Business. Each was awarded $11,677 in prize money. The Whiskey Kilo was third with a 17.2-pounder worth $2,745. Natalie Ross on the Whiskey Kilo was awarded the Junior Angler Award with 100 release points.

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.