Far from “vanishing,” the White Marlin Open has become one of Ocean City’s most popular and famous events. It is truly an “open” and there are no age, gender or skill level restrictions. In 1993, the winning marlin was caught by a 14-year-old boy and in 2016 an angler won over $1.5 million for his fish; it was the first white marlin he had ever caught.
The tournament began in 1974 with $20,000 total prize money and 57 boats entered. In 2021, 444 boats competed for over $9.26 million. The largest white marlin was caught in 1980 and weighed 99 pounds. The largest fish — a blue marlin weighing 1,062 pounds — was caught in 2009. The biggest payout for a single fish – a 85.5-pound white marlin — was $3.2 million in 2021.
Founded by local resident Jim Motsko and still overseen by him and his family, the White Marlin Open is the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament. It definitely contributes to Ocean City’s title of “The White Marlin Capital of the World.”
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
Photo courtesy of The Dispatch