50th Anniversary White Marlin Open Eyes $10M In Prize Money

50th Anniversary White Marlin Open Eyes $10M In Prize Money
Vessels are pictured making their way through the Route 50 Bridge to the Harbour Island Marina during last year’s White Marlin Open. Photo by OCYachtShots.com

OCEAN CITY – The White Marlin Open (WMO), the world’s largest offshore billfish tournament held annually in Ocean City, recently announced plans for its 50th anniversary tournament week, presented by Pure Lure.

Held from Aug. 7-11, anglers will have the opportunity to hook a record-breaking white and blue marlin, tuna, wahoo, swordfish, or dolphin. Tournament directors expect the purse for this year’s event to be over $10 million and have added a new $50,000 entry category for the 50th anniversary event.

Additionally, for the third year in a row, Marlin Fest will coincide with the tournament – a free viewing event located on the beach at the Inlet featuring a festival-like atmosphere as well as real-time, unobstructed views of the live stream of the tournament weigh-ins via large screens.

“We’re thrilled to honor 50 years of hosting one of the most exciting and competitive fishing experiences in the world, right here in Ocean City, Maryland,” said Madelyne Rowan, tournament director. “Following this year’s tournament, we expect to surpass more than $100 million in cash rewards to our anglers, who we cannot thank enough for their continued support. We also want to recognize our long-term sponsors, partners, and most importantly, the amazing community of die-hard fans who show up year after year and make this a truly unforgettable experience.”

In celebration of the anniversary, a new white marlin “winner take all” entry category has been added. The $50,000 category, also known as the “Anniversary Level,” will add to the millions of dollars already at stake for the heaviest white marlin.

“It’s remarkable to reflect on 50 years of tournaments, especially back to our first event held in 1974. We drew 57 boats, and 150 anglers, and paid $20,000 in prize money,” stated Jim Motsko, founder of the White Marlin Open. “Fast-forward to today and we continue to stay true to our mission of world-class fishing, with our added entry categories more than doubling that initial payout in 1974. Last year, we drew 408 boats, over 3,500 contestants, and awarded over $8.6 million in prize money, including the top individual prize of $4.53 million – a new world record award for the catch of a fish.”

Held at the Inlet from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day of the tournament, the free Marlin Fest event welcomes families to bring beach chairs and blankets to spread out and enjoy live music and views of the anglers as they bring in their daily catches to nearby Harbour Island. Vendors will be onsite selling a variety of items including official Marlin Fest merchandise and White Marlin Open gear, as well as food and alcohol.

This year, Marlin Fest will support the Ocean City Reef Foundation, an organization committed to the enhancement, and restoration, of Maryland’s seafloor by deploying reef substrates and monitoring coral coverage. The foundation’s goal is to build living reefs that will help bring back species of fish, lobsters, crab, and shrimp closer to shore.