If you notice a bit of radio silence on the offshore grounds this week, it’s undoubtedly due to the 49th annual White Marlin Open, the world’s largest and richest billfish tournament running out of Ocean City, MD this week.
The 2021 WMO had 444 boats competing for a world record $9.2 million dollar payout; and this year’s tournament format remains basically unchanged allowing boats the freedom to enter the added entry levels of their choice based on their wallet, target species, boat size, and perceived abilities. Last year, that format provided a payout that included individual awards of $3.2 million, $1.9 million, $1.3 million, and $1.1 million dollars. While that’s a tough act to follow, if past trends hold, White Marlin Open organizers project that the 2022 purse will exceed $10 million dollars!
Because of the new federal regulations on sharks, they have eliminated the shark category for 2022. In its place, the White Marlin Open added a swordfish division to keep up with the increasing interest in swordfishing. A new heaviest swordfish winner take all category has also been added to up the ante, along with a new daily billfish points category for small boats.
There will be an extra 30 minutes of fishing time each day this year. Lines and teasers can be put in the water at 8 a.m. allowing an extra half hour for boats to fish. Marlin Fest will stream the weigh-ins live each day on the beach at the Ocean City inlet. To accommodate the overflow of fans at Harbour Island, Marlin Fest will offer live streaming of the nightly weigh-ins on a Jumbo-Tron screen on the beach at the inlet along with daily live entertainment, food & adult beverages, a wide variety of vendors, beach tennis, cornhole tournaments and official White Marlin Open and Marlin Fest merchandise. The Marlin Fest beach party will be held daily from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.
Participating boats are running out of Harbour Island Marina in Ocean City, MD and South Jersey Marina in Cape May NJ with the awards ceremony to be held at the Ocean City Fountainebleau Resort on Saturday, August 13 where an estimated $10 million dollars will be awarded. And with $10 million on the line this week, it’s no wonder why location specifics on the offshore grounds may be difficult to get this week.
To follow along with the 49th Annual White Marlin Open this week go to whitemarlinopen.com.