fishing

(June 19, 2020) The Ocean City Marlin Club will host its 41st annual Small Boat Tournament this weekend, with a few changes because of covid-19 restrictions.

“The weather looks good right now [and] fishing is very good,” said Boz Jefferson, co-chair of the tournament with Colin Campbell and Bill Regan. “We’re excited to have the tournament. It will be the first [OCMC] tournament of the year.”

The competition is for “small boats,” open to vessels 34 feet long (as stated on the manufacturer’s specifications) and smaller.

A representative from each team can call the Marlin Club at 410-213-1613 to register. Final registration will take place today, Friday, at 6:30 p.m. For those who didn’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.

There will be a virtual captain’s meeting available on the Marlin Club website, www.ocmarlinclub.com, and on its Facebook page.

The entry fee is $250 per boat to fish offshore or inshore. This year, $200 of each entry fee with go toward prize payout - distributed 50/30/20 for first, second and third place in each category. There will also be custom awards presented, designed by local artist Jeffrey Auxer.

To fish inshore one day and offshore the other, the cost is $500.

Many people fish in the tournament annually, Jefferson said. Participants will fish either Saturday or Sunday, June 20-21. Anglers can participate in the inshore or offshore divisions. They also have the option to compete in both.

The Small Boat competition is for all ages, and young anglers are encouraged participate.

The inshore division includes categories for flounder, sea bass, tog, bluefish and rockfish. Offshore division categories include tuna, dolphin and billfish release.

The Dale Brown Award is a $500 bonus for the angler who lands the heaviest flounder. The award is named in memory of Brown, who was a Marlin Club member and avid fisherman.

Weigh-ins will take place each day from 3-6:30 p.m. at Sunset Marina in West Ocean City. Because of covid-19 and 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.

This tournament is the first Marlin Club event to count toward the inaugural Larry Jock Memorial Cup seasonal award.

Jock, owner of the Coastal Fisherman newspaper, passed away suddenly on Jan. 11. He was a pillar of the Ocean City fishing community for many years.

Points will be award for entering an event and by physical standing – first, second or third place – in each Marlin Club tournament. For the full list of rules, visit www.ocmarlinclub.com.

Despite a poor offshore weather forecast, the 2019 Small Boat Tournament turned out better than anticipated.

A total of $11,750 was presented to tournament winners. Of the 30 boats entered, 29 fished the first day of the competition. Many of the teams were successful as 23 of the 29 boats brought fish to the scale.

The one boat that fished on Day 2 landed the largest flounder of the tournament. The Teacher’s Pet II crew boated a 3.6-pound flounder to win the $500 Dale Brown Award.

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