fishing

Prizes awarded for billfish release, largest tuna and dolphin brought to scale

(June 26, 2020) The Ocean City Marlin Club’s 38th annual Canyon Kick Off Tournament gets underway next week.

While the fishing part of the event will remain the same, a few other aspects will be altered due to covid-19.

A representative from each team can call the Marlin Club at 410-213-1613 to register. Final registration will take place Thursday, July 2, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

For those who don’t register over the phone, a limit of one person from each boat can sign up their group at the club, located on Golf Course Road in West Ocean City. Social distancing and masks are required.

Because of the coronavirus, there will be a virtual captain’s meeting for the tournament, available on the Marlin Club website, www.ocmarlinclub.com, and on its Facebook page.

The competition is free for Marlin Club boat members. The entry cost for non-members is $400.

Most people who participate are boat club members and compete in the tournament annually, Bob Althauser, director of the Canyon Kick Off with Al Rittmeyer, said.

Fishing days are Friday through Sunday, July 3-5. Participants will fish two of the three days.

Boats may leave from the Indian River inlet or Ocean City inlet.

Weigh-ins will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. at Sunset Marina in West Ocean City each day.

In accordance with social distancing guidelines, the number of people on the dock at the scale will be limited. There will also be no awards banquet this year.

Cash prizes will be awarded for white and blue marlin, sailfish, spearfish and swordfish releases, as well as for the three largest tuna and dolphin brought to the scale.

“There’s plenty of fish out there to catch,” Althauser said. “Tuna [fishing] has been slower the last couple of days [but] we’re still seeing boats with five to seven tuna. A lot of big eyes are being caught. Billfish is solid. People are catching dolphin – some pretty decent size.”

The minimum weight for all tuna (yellowfin, big eye, bluefin and long fin) is 30 pounds. The minimum weight for dolphin is 10 pounds.

Added entry-level calcuttas, which cost $200, $300, $500 and $1,000, are offered in the meatfish (tuna and dolphin), bluefin tuna and billfish divisions. Anglers can win additional prize money if entered into these calcuttas. The billfish division is catch-and-release only.

One hundred points will be award for white marlin, sailfish and spearfish, and 150 points for blue marlin and swordfish releases.

“Billfish [fishing] started early and is still going,” Althauser said.

Althauser hopes this year’s tournament will be as successful as the 2019 edition.

Sixty-two boats participated in the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 37th annual Canyon Kick Off last year, and $96,120 was distributed among the winners.

For more information, visit www.ocmarlinclub.com or call 410-213-1613.

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