Big Fish Classic

Teams can choose between two 32-hour slots to fish during annual tournament

(July 19, 2019) If everything falls into place, records could be broken during the sixth annual Huk Big Fish Classic, next weekend.

“We could reach $600,000 [payout] this year if the conditions are right [and] we’re shooting for 80 boats,” Brian Roberts, co-director of the tournament, said. “That’s what we’re projecting. A lot of people say it’s one of their favorite fishing tournaments because they can fish how they want to fish and for the species they want.”

The event will kick off with final registration, Thursday, July 25, followed by fishing all weekend, July 26-28.

“I think we’re going to have a record year [because] the economy is good and fishing is really good,” Roberts said. “Marlin fishing has turned on [and] several were caught this past weekend.”

About 20 teams have already registered, several of which are new to the competition. They will be coming from New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia and Ocean City.

The final day to sign up is Thursday, July 25 from 4-8 p.m. at M.R. Ducks on Talbot Street, bayside. A captain’s meeting will follow.

The cost to enter the tournament is $800 per boat.

Teams can choose between two 32-hour slots: 7 a.m. Friday, July, 26 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 27, or 7 a.m. Saturday, July 27 to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 28.

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.

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.

A new addition this year is Heaviest Stringer Tuna Division. The cost is $1,000 to enter. Anglers can select their four tuna to weigh.

Boats can depart from any port between New Jersey and Virginia. 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 26 and Saturday, July 27. The scale, located between M.R. Ducks and the Angler in downtown Ocean City, will be open from 4-8 p.m. Sunday, July 28.

Weigh-ins are free and open to the public and all are encouraged to attend. Children are invited to get right in front for an up-close view of the fish.

There will also be live music each evening, giveaways, raffles and vendors selling artwork, clothing and event merchandise. Huk Performance, the event title sponsor, and Sirius XM Marine, the new presenting sponsor, will be on hand.

The weigh-ins will also be streamed live this year.

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.

The tournament will again benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Raymond A. Wood Foundation, which provides quality of life support for childhood brain tumor survivors and their families.

Some of the meat from fish caught during the tournament will be donated to Diakonia, which provides emergency housing, emergency food services and counseling and assistance for its guests.

Sixty-seven boats registered for the fifth annual Huk Big Fish Classic last year and $462,350 – a new tournament record – was distributed to the winners.

“We had three blue marlin sweep [the largest fish division] and we weighed three swordfish over 180 pounds. There were lots of tuna and dolphin, too,” Roberts said following the 2018 tournament.

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