First White Marlin Prize Awarded

First White Marlin Prize Awarded
Pictured with members of the Ocean City Mayor and Council are the Restless Lady II fishing team of angler Joe Huk, Captain Chris Huk and first mate Tanner Virden. Submitted Photo

OCEAN CITY – The captain and crew of the Restless Lady II are $5,000 richer after catching the first white marlin of the 2023 season.

On Monday, the Mayor and Council awarded the town’s $5,000 prize to angler Joe Huk, Capt. Chris Huk and first mate Tanner Virden for the first white marlin catch and release of the season. The catch occurred on June 2 in the Baltimore Canyon.

“It’s an honor to bring in the first white marlin for the city,” Joe Huk said.

Each year, the Mayor and Council offers a $5,000 prize to the captain and crew that catches and releases the first official white marlin of the summer season. A few years back during budget deliberations, the town briefly considered eliminating the annual prize. But after outcry from the local fishing community, it was reinstated.

Preceding Monday’s check presentation, Joe Huk detailed the events leading up to the first white marlin catch.

“We are a new business, about two years in the making, and we run charters out of Ocean City off of Talbot Pier,” he said. “That day, a charter canceled, and the fishing was pretty good. So I called up a friend of mine and said, ‘Come on down, we’re going to take the boat out for a personal trip to go fish.’”

Huk said they had caught about eight or nine tuna before deciding to end their day.

“I turned to my buddy and told him let’s go in, get a couple of orange crushes and call it a day,” he said. “Chris is on top – he’s my son – and he mentions the first white marlin is still in play and that there were a couple of white marlins seen in the area. So I looked at my buddy. We were like it’s worth $5,000, we’re going to stick around and fish a little longer.”

That decision, he said, made them $5,000 richer. Within 10 minutes, a white marlin was spotted.

“Ten minutes after we said that, Chris starts yelling out, ‘White marlin in the spread, white marlin in the spread,’” he recalled.

Huk said it took 10 minutes to reel in the fish. The rest, he said, was history.

“It’s an honor to bring in the first white marlin for the city,” he said Monday. “It’s a very good day for our business.”

Mayor Rick Meehan and members of the council this week congratulated the crew of the Restless Lady II and recognized their first catch with a check presentation.

“You can buy a lot of orange crushes with $5,000,” Meehan said.

Last year, the first white marlin of the season was caught and released on June 7. And in 2021, the town recorded a white marlin catch and release on May 23, the earliest date ever recorded since records have been kept by the Ocean City Marlin Club. The latest catch date recorded for a white marlin was July 20, 1936.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.