Largest turnout and payout, and most billfish released in tourney’s 36-year history

(July 6, 2018) The Ocean City Marlin Club’s annual Canyon Kick Off tournament, held June 29 to July 1, saw the largest turnout and payout, and most billfish released in the event’s 36-year history.

“We really lucked out. Good weather, good fishing and people feeling confident enough to invest in more added entry levels,” said Ocean City Marlin Club President, Franky Pettolina, who also runs the boat Last Call. “It was really good marlin fishing. Usually two marlin will place or win. This year you needed four to have a chance.

“Hopefully it is a sign of things for the rest of the season,” he continued. “Best start to marlin fishing I can ever remember in Ocean City.”

A total of $107,730 was presented to tournament winners.

Seventy-seven boats were registered for the competition.

“There were several new participants this year, including four nonboat [Marlin Club] members,” said Amanda Shick, the Ocean City Marlin Club’s operations manager/event coordinator.

Participants could fish two of three tournament days. Forty-one went offshore last Friday, 58 fished Saturday and 55 headed out on Sunday.

“It was a very successful tournament,” said Al Rittmeyer, director of the Canyon Kick Off with Bob Althauser. “It was a combination of factors. It was perfect weather. [The ocean] was slick and calm. Fishing has been really good and the economy helps. People seem to have a little more discretionary spending money.”

Sixty-eight white marlin and nine blues were released during the tournament.

Fish On took first place in the billfish release division with 750 points. The crew released six whites and one blue. They were awarded $35,550.

Nontypical came in second place with 700 points (four whites, two blues). The team was presented $2,052.

The Moore Bills team released five whites and one blue, good for third place and $4,446. Par Five anglers cut loose two whites and two blues and won $2,052.

Marlin Gale took top honors in the dolphin division with a 37.2 pounder. The crew earned $14,332.50.

Canyon Hunter landed in second place with a 23.4-pound dolphin. The team was presented $3,739.50.

The Last Call crew boated a 22-pound dolphin to finish in third place. They took home $2,493.

Hall Pass received prize money for its 18.2-pound dolphin for participating in added entry-level calcuttas. The group got a check for $11,250.

The Tighten Up team hooked a 110.8-pound bigeye and won $25,582.50. The Second Chance crew brought a 109.8-pound bigeye to the Sunset Marina scale in West Ocean City, good for second place. They were awarded $3,739.50.

The Stalker anglers caught an 83.6-pound yellowfin to finish in third place. They earned $2,493.

The Ocean City Marlin Club’s next tournament is the 14th annual Kid’s Classic, slated for July 21-22. It is open to anglers 19 and younger.

The tournament benefits the Wish-A-Fish Foundation, whose mission is to “provide a little relief for a family from the daily stress of having a child with special needs, such as a life-threatening illness, mental or physical disability, by taking the entire family out for a day of fun and fishing on the water.”

For more information about the Kid’s Classic, call 410-213-1613 or visit

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