first place tuna (copy)

The OC Marlin Club's next tournament is the 44th annual Small Boat tournament on June 24-25. Pictured, a team poses with the 74-pound tuna they caught during the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 42nd annual Small Boat Tournament. 

The Ocean City Marlin Club has canceled its 14th annual Franky Pettolina Memorial Day fishing tournament due to an unsafe offshore weather forecast for the weekend.

“We don’t want to put our members or anybody else in any danger just to catch a fish,” said Boz Jefferson, secretary and past president of the Marlin Club, who is also co-chair of the tournament. “It originally started as a bluefish-only tournament for just something different. Franky added the tuna to it to get more folks to fish in it. Bluefish are generally an inshore category fish. The tuna people are going offshore to the canyons and stuff like that.”

It was supposed to run Saturday and Sunday as the club’s first tournament of the summer.

Last year the tournament was also canceled due to poor weather.

“For more than a decade he (Pettolina) was the president, he had been a fisherman in his community for his entire life – here and around the world – and he spearheaded this tournament,” Jefferson said.

A portion of the proceeds of the tournament were meant to benefit the Catherine & Charles Kratz Memorial Foundation & Scholarship Fund, which provides gravesites and columbarium spaces at the Catherine and Charles Kratz Memorial Park in the historic Druid Ridge Cemetery, Baltimore, according to its website.

Kratz was a longtime member and strong supporter of the club.

Although the tournament won’t go on, reports of tuna fishing are positive so far this year.

“Charters are starting to get ready to go do the offshore tuna charters. Most people are catching a couple of them a day when they go, so it’s promising,” Jefferson said.

The next OC Marlin Club tournament is the 44th annual Small Boat Tournament, scheduled for June 24-25. Registration is June 23. For more information, visit

This story appears in the May 26, 2023, print edition of the OC Today.

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