(July 19, 2019) A total of 109 boats were registered for the 2019 Ocean City Tuna Tournament and a record $908,235 was presented to the winners.
“A lot of them went all-in. A lot of money was spent,” Jennifer Blunt, tournament director, said. “It was a very good, smooth tournament. The new scoring [system] kept things up-to-date and we had no issues.”
Blunt said many crews thought tuna fishing was slow during the tournament, but a decent amount of fish were weighed. The majority of the tuna brought to the Ocean City Fishing Center in West Ocean City were yellowfin. About a dozen bluefin were boated. No bigeye tuna were caught.
Two 99-pound tuna tied for first place in the Single Largest Division.
Jack Roesner and the Moore Bills crew won $221,347. Tom Cochran and his Reel Chaos teammates took home $214,350.
The crews split the Level H Pro Tuna Jackpot, which is a winner-take-all pool for the largest single tuna. That pot totaled $193,500. It costs $5,000 to enter and 43 of the 109 tournament boats registered for the calcutta.
Marty Suder landed a 90-pound tuna and he and his Seakeeper teammates received $9,655.
The Restless Lady II crew was awarded $32,220 for Tony Bauer’s 89-pound tuna, because of their participation in added entry-level calcuttas.
The Theresa Jean crew earned first place in the Heaviest Stringer Weight Division, with a total of 426 pounds. The team received a check for $252,715.
A large portion of that money – $121,500 – came from the Level G Heaviest Stringer Jackpot. Fifty-four out of 109 boats registered for the calcutta.
The Sea Wolf team came in second place with a stringer weight of 256 pounds. The group was presented $63,960.
The Marli team’s total of 249 pounds scored them a third-place finish and $40,210.
Tony Martina landed the largest dolphin – a 33-pounder – aboard Sea Wolf. The fish was worth $28,960.
Hall Pass angler Nick Prince boated a 25-pound dolphin. The crew won $1,000.
Lance Crampton and the C-Boys crew received $500 for his 24-pound dolphin.
Bob Smith hooked the largest wahoo of the tournament – a 70-pounder. Smith and his Troublemaker teammates were awarded $11,520.
Fin Chaser angler Kylleigh Wiygul reeled in an 88-pound tuna to win the ladies division. Her team was presented $1,500.
JL Cropper landed an 85-pound tuna aboard Myra HT to finish is second place. The group won $1,000.
Margarita angler Joyce Collins boated a 71-pound tuna, good for third place and $500.
About 20 women participated in the 32nd annual tournament.
In the Junior Angler Division, 14-year-old William Morrison took first place with a 46-pound tuna caught aboard A Salt Weapon 3. He received $1,000.
Zach Little, 15, reeled in a 40-pound tuna while fishing on Talkin’ Trash. He took home $500.
Thirteen-year-old Hammer Down angler Jackson Morgan hooked a 36-pound tuna to finish in third place. He was awarded $250.
About 15 anglers competed in the Junior Angler Division this year, which is open to youth 16 and younger.
The Berlin Little League was presented $3,240 from the Level Q charity donation calcutta. The other half of the pot goes to the team with single-largest tuna as long as that group enters the calcutta. The Moore Bills was awarded the money.
“We’re very happy with how the tournament went overall,” Blunt said. “We’re proud to be the largest tuna tournament [payout-wise] in the country without a billfish division.”