(July 24, 2020) As of late Wednesday evening, 47 boats had already preregistered for the seventh annual Huk Big Fish Classic, with a purse totaling around $315,000.
Many of the teams on those boats had yet to sign up for added entry-level calcuttas, so co-director Brian Roberts thinks the prize money distributed to the winners could reach $750,000.
Teams were encouraged to preregister for the event, but for those who didn’t, the final day to sign up was Thursday.
Roberts said a number of new boats are participating in the tournament and teams are traveling from up and down the coast to compete.
“It’s shaping up great. It’s exciting,” Roberts said Wednesday. “The weather looks great. We definitely could have a record turnout and purse.”
Records were set for both participation and payout in 2019. Seventy-two boats were registered for the tournament and a total of $503,302 was distributed among the winners.
The cost to enter the tournament was $900 per boat. There are several added entry-level divisions, or wagering pools, which range in cost from $300 to $1,500, and include billfish, tuna, meatfish (dolphin, wahoo and shark) and small boat (38 feet and under). There is also a billfish release division.
“Talbot Street Stringer” calcutta has three levels to enter this year, which cost $500 and $1,000. The Heaviest Stringer Winner Take All costs $1,000 to enter. Teams can select any four fish they catch in 32 hours for a combined total weight.
Teams have the option to choose between two 32-hour slots: 7 a.m. Friday, July, 24 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25, or 7 a.m. Saturday, July 25 to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 26.
Crews can fish the entire 32 hours or come back to the dock and head out offshore again after a break with the same or different anglers.
Boats can depart from any port between New Jersey and Virginia and can leave as early as 2 a.m. Teams can fish up to 125 nautical miles from the Ocean City sea buoy. All fish must be weighed at the Talbot Street Pier.
Tournament weigh-ins will take place from 4-9 p.m., Friday, July 24 and Saturday, July 25. The scale, located between M.R. Ducks and the Angler in downtown Ocean City, will be open from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, July 26.
Space will be limited at the weigh-ins due to covid-19. Social distancing and masks are required.
The weigh-ins will also be streamed live online. Visit www.bigfishclassic.com for more information. Updates will also be posted on the tournament’s Facebook page.
Tournament apparel will be available near the weigh-ins and on the tournament website. Other vendors will also be set up on Talbot Street, including Huk Performance, Sirius XM Marine, Blue Otter Polarized sunglasses, Mid Shore Marine and artist George Kalwa.
Talbot Street Pier is the original spot where some of the first fish caught off the coast of Ocean City were weighed.
Nearly 100 years ago, the pier in downtown Ocean City was bustling with activity as anglers took their daily catches there. Organizers of the Big Fish Classic wanted to bring the action, and big fish, back to the pier.
A record 900 pounds of meat from fish caught during the 2019 tournament was donated to Diakonia, which provides emergency housing, food services, counseling and assistance for its guests, and the Ocean City Baptist Church.
Fish will again go to those groups this year, Roberts said.