fishing poles

(Aug. 23, 2019) Hours were extended for the Ocean City Marlin Club’s 60th Labor Day White Marlin Tournament last year, allowing anglers to fish overnight, and the format will again be implemented this year.

“It was well received,” said Jimmy Giles, co-chairman of the tournament with Bob Wimbrow and Bill Fenwick. “Some stayed overnight. It was a nice option for those who wanted to.”

The time schedule gives teams an opportunity to take advantage of the early morning and late evening bite.

Last year, 51 boats participated and $40,680 was paid out to the winners.

The new format was supposed to be implemented in 2017, but the tournament was canceled because of bad weather stemming from remnants of Hurricane Harvey. It was also canceled in 2016 because of Tropical Storm Hermine.

Giles said they are hoping for good weather this year.

Registration for the Marlin Club’s 61st annual Labor Day White Marlin Tournament, the resort’s longest-running fishing competition, will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Ocean City Marlin Club on Golf Course Road in West Ocean City.

A captains’ meeting will follow. A representative from each boat must attend.

“We have seen record or near record tournament participation this year,” Giles said. “More boats means more guaranteed prize money.”

Seventy-five percent of the entry fee will be returned in guaranteed prize money.

The tournament is open to both Marlin Club boat members and nonmembers. The cost to participate is $500 per boat.

“All are welcome to participate,” Giles said. “It’s a great way to spend the holiday weekend. It’s a great time.”

Many crews participate in the tournament annually, he added.

Anglers are eligible to fish two of three days: Friday, Aug. 30, Saturday, Aug. 31 and/or Sunday, Sept. 1.

Day one, lines in at 8 a.m. and out at midnight. Day two, lines in at midnight and out at 3:30 p.m. Crews can choose to fish overnight for their two tournament fishing days.

“Overnight fishing is permitted, but not mandatory,” Giles said.

Participants can leave from either the Indian River inlet or Ocean City inlet.

The billfish division is catch and release only. One hundred points will be awarded for each released white marlin, sailfish and spearfish. Anglers will earn 150 points for blue marlin released. No points will be awarded for boated billfish.

Added entry-level calcuttas, or wagering pools, which range in cost from $200 to $500, for billfish release are available. In addition, anglers can sign up for the daily billfish release division, which costs $500 to enter. Winner takes all.

A billfish release calcutta for boats 34 feet and smaller is also available. It costs $500 to enter and is winner takes all.

A Master Angler Award will be presented to the person who self-hooks and releases the most billfish during the tournament.

“The timing of this tournament typically coincide with some of the season’s best marlin fishing,” Giles said. “Mid-August to mid-September is typically the peak of the billfish [fishing] season, which adds to the excitement.”

The heaviest swordfish calcutta costs $500 to enter and is winner takes all. The minimum length for swordfish is 48 inches.

“This year’s rules allow deep drop sword[fish] fishing during all eligible fishing hours, not just during the overnight period,” Giles said.

There are also divisions for heaviest meatfish (tuna and dolphin) brought to the scale.

The anglers who boat the three heaviest tuna (yellowfin, big eye or longfin) and dolphin will win prize money. Added entry-level calcuttas for meatfish cost $200, $300 and $500.

The minimum qualifying weight for tuna is 30 pounds and 10 pounds for dolphin.

Daily catches will be weighed at Sunset Marina in West Ocean City from 5:30-7:30 p.m. An awards banquet is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1, at the club. Banquet tickets cost $15 per person.

For more information, call the Marlin Club at 410-213-1613 or visit www.ocmarlinclub.com.

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