44th Challenge Cup Tourney Underway

OCEAN CITY- The 44th 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 who 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 headquarters used to alternate each year between Ocean City and Cape May, but it has been a uniquely Ocean City event for the last several years because of the nightlife and other amenities the resort offers. If one team wins three Challenge Cup tournaments in a row, the cup is retired and becomes the property of the winning club. The contest has been fairly close over the years with each team retiring trophies at different times.

The tournament got started on Wednesday with a captains meeting, but the action offshore got started on Thursday, the first of three designated fishing days. It’s a billfish release tournament, so no fish will be boated and weighed. The team accumulating the most billfish release points over the three fishing days will claim the cup and bragging rights for the next year.

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.