(May 31, 2019) With the amount of inquiries and interest in the 2019 Mako Mania tournament, if the weather is good for fishing than this year’s event could see record-breaking numbers.
“We’ve had a ton of phone calls. From the amount of phone calls we’ve received and if we have three days of good weather, I think it could be a record tournament,” said Earl Conley, Mako Mania co-director. “I think it will be a good tournament. I’m looking forward to it.”
Last March, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced the recreational minimum size limit for Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks was increased to 83 inches (fork length). This was implemented to address overfishing of the species.
The minimum previously was 54 inches. The measure was effective until Aug. 29, with a possible extension of up to an additional 186 days.
As of March 3, 2019, the final ruling separates size limits for males (71-inch minimum) and females (83-inch minimum).
“I think the [size limit] last year kind of deterred people, and, we didn’t have such great weather,” Conley said. “I think everyone will go at it this year.”
Several thresher and mako sharks have already been caught this season.
Final registration for the 23rd annual Mako Mania, presented by Bahia Marina Tournaments, will be Thursday, June 6, beginning at 4 p.m. at Bahia Marina on 22nd Street, bayside. A captains’ meeting will follow.
The entry fee is $500 per boat for up to four anglers. Two additional anglers — to make a six-person team — may be added to a boat at $50 each.
Anglers will fish two of three days, Friday through Sunday, June 7-9.
All fish must be weighed at Bahia Marina. Scales will open at 3:30 p.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to watch the weigh-ins, which typically draw a large crowd.
This tournament has added-entry categories, or wagering pools, for the heaviest thresher sharks, mako and bluefish, as well as mako releases.
Prize money will be awarded for the three heaviest mako and thresher sharks and top-two bluefish brought to the scale, in addition to the top-three mako releases.
The team that released the most sharks will receive the “W.W. Harman” $1,000 award.
An awards ceremony will take place after the scale closes on the final fishing day.
Mako Mania was started in 1996 by Capt. Steve Harman.
“It’s a memorial tournament, in memory of Capt. Steve Harman, so we don’t forget who started it all,” Conley said. “We’re praying the late Capt. Steve Harman will smile upon us and bring good weather. We want to thank the Harman family for putting on the tournament.”
Thirty-seven boats carrying 176 anglers participated in the 2018 Mako Mania. Nearly $87,600 was presented to tournament winners.
For information, call 410-289-7438.