(May 28, 2021) To the local fishing community, the loss of Ocean City Marlin Club President Franky Pettolina is difficult to measure, but the christening of the Memorial Day Tournament in his name underscores the desire of the club to preserve the angler’s legacy.
The 12th annual Franky Pettolina Memorial Day Tournament, however, was canceled ahead of its Friday sign-up date. The club cited expected inclement weather as the chief reason.
The tournament was formerly known simply as the Memorial Day Tournament. It’s sponsored by the club and kicks off the summer fishing season, which features several other tournaments sponsored by the club.
“He was very vocal in his opinions and able to talk to people and persuade people to do the right thing toward the fishing community and other people,” said Capt. Chris Evans, who co-directs the tournament with Capt. Terry Layton.
“He had a vast knowledge of the type of fishing we do here. He fished extensively throughout the Caribbean and Mexico and all of the East Coast. He had a lot of knowledge built up in what we do.”
For Evans and Layton, naming the tournament after their friend seemed like the right thing to do.
“It’s his interest in fishing and how he followed what was going on nationally, in Ocean City, with ocean trends and what everyone wanted to see done (that made him so valuable to the fishing community here),” Evans said.
Pettolina, who passed away in March, was also the owner and operator of Pettolina Marine Surveying and Consulting. He was the captain of the “Last Call,” founder of AEF Enterprises and a well-regarded member of the fishing community.
“It was always a plus when you would see Franky at the club when you went to dinner or for a drink or two,” Layton said. “He always seemed to add a positiveness when he was in there. He was a great president and committed a lot of time to the club and for all to enjoy it there and what it has to offer. He will be sorely missed by many.”