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With a record purse of $3.24 million in play among 151 boats sailing out of Cape May, NJ and Ocean City, MD last week, you knew there was going to be a bit of drama heading into the fifth and final day of the 2017 MidAtlantic.
By Jeff Merrill  |  August 28, 2017
Larry Hesse of Fort Lauderdale, FL and son Larry, Jr. with their crew aboard the New Jersey based Goin’ In Deep captained by Walter Harmstead won big at the 2017 MidAtlantic by winning both the Blue Marlin and Tuna categories and a $1.11 million dollar payday for a 680-pound blue marlin and 184-pound true Allison tuna on day four of the tournament.

It was a week that not only saw a total eclipse of the sun but also saw a total cash purse eclipse the previous MidAtlantic tournament record payout! It was also the first time in the tournament’s 26-year history where a participant won two of the event’s major categories.

The 2017 MidAtlantic tournament ended on Friday night, August 25, with awards presentations at both Canyon Club Resort Marina in Cape May, NJ and Sunset Marina in Ocean City, MD with a tournament record $3.24 million awarded to all the lucky winners including well over $1 million alone to one lucky crew!

Larry Hesse of Fort Lauderdale, FL and his crew of the Brielle, New Jersey-based Goin’ In Deep including Capt. Walter Harmstead and Hesse’s son Larry Jr. were the big winners at this year’s event as they doubled up and nabbed the Blue Marlin and Tuna categories top prizes thanks to the 680-pound blue marlin and 184-pound tuna weighed on day four of the tournament and walked away with $1,110,634!

It was a picture-perfect morning as 145 of the 151 tournament boats headed offshore on the final day of the 2017 MidAtlantic tournament. A light breeze made for calm seas and as is usually the case, day five would prove to be Moving Day once again at the tournament with fortunes made for some and dashed for others as several significant changes to the leaderboard occurred. Though the billfish bite was somewhat slow by MidAtlantic tournament standards several large white marlin were reported boated during the day. It was shortly after the evening’s weigh-in session got underway at 5 p.m. when Scott Poole’s Waste Knot from Morehead, NC with Capt. Patrick Kannan at the wheel pulled to the scale in Ocean City and weighed a white marlin of 75 pounds for angler Kyle Mayer which hurdled the others to the top of the leaderboard in the category.

Poole and his crew of the Waste Knot were among those eyeing the scale as minutes later Capt. JJ Logan wheeled Rich Van Camp's Reel Rodeo from Fort Lauderdale, FL into the marina with an upright white marlin flag flying indicating they had a boated billfish aboard. Moments later angler Andrew Kennedy’s billfish would weigh 71 pounds and Reel Rodeo would finish with the third heaviest white marlin for the tournament and $73,602 in prize money. Poole and his crew aboard the Waste Knot let out a sigh of relief as their heaviest white marlin caught gave the crew $796,509, with Ken Hager’s Taylor Jean from Tinton Falls, NJ winning the second heaviest white marlin prize and a check for $217,665 for a 72-pound billfish on the opening day of the tournament on August 21.

No qualifying blue marlin were weighed on day five which left Art Kontos’ Let It Ride from Vero Beach, FL with the second heaviest billfish in the category at 677 pounds and won him $142,929. It should be noted since no third place blue marlin was caught, that prize money was divided between Goin’ In Deep and Let It Ride. Though several tuna were weighed on the final day of the contest, none were able to make the leaderboard much less top Goin’ In Deep’s 184 pounder. Denny Howell’s Big Dog hung on to take the second heaviest in the category and won $80,088 while Pat Healy’s New Gretna, New Jersey-based Viking 62 and Brick, New Jersey’s Mike Murray aboard his The Caitlin finished in a tie for third heaviest tuna at 72 pounds and won $164,837 and $116,929 respectively.

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